According to The Hill, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) received more money in campaign donations from the oil industry than she received from residents of Maine. Almost $50,000 was donated by the Texas oil industry, which is more than five times the amount she was given by Maine residents. Collins is up for reelection in 2020.
In the first quarter of the funding year in 2019, Collins received approximately $49,300 from Texas-based fossil fuel donors. One donor was the president of Hunt Oil Company and President and CEO at Magnolia Oil and Gas Corporation, Stephen Chazen. This quarter, Collins raised over $1.4 million.
Several of the oil executives who donated to Collins maxed out their contributions at $2,700. Some donated the max amount to both Collins’ primary election campaign and her general election campaign.
Texas oil and gas investor Patrick O. Rayes donated $5,600 to both of Collins’ campaigns. Ralph J. Ellis Jr., an executive at Belmont Petroleum Corporation in Texas gave $5,400. Some political action committees linked to fossil fuel companies also contributed to Collins’ campaign.
Exxon Mobil Corp, based in Irving, Texas, donated $1,000 to Collins. Pioneer Natural Resources, also based in Irving, donated $2,700 and Kirby PAC, based in Houston, gave $2,500. Collins was also given $5,000 from General Electric’s PAC and $2,500 from Exelon Corporation’s PAC.
Collins has served since 1997 and although she has not yet announced her reelection campaign, she is expected to do so. She is often a swing vote for many issues.
Donations that Collins received from Maine residents were not substantial compared to her donations from the oil industry. In the same quarter, she received only $9,200 from residents.
Collins recently voted to confirm Trump’s nominee for the head of the Interior Department, David Bernhardt, who is currently helping to expand drilling on public land in the U.S. He is also spearheading an effort to draft an offshore drilling plan in the Atlantic. Collins voted for Bernhardt after he assured her that the offshore drilling plan wouldn’t touch the coast of Maine.
"It was instrumental in my vote. It was a reassuring letter in which he said that the position of the governor, the congressional delegation, and the legislature would be a determining factor and he recognized the coastal management act and the impact that that would have and that it's binding on the Department," Collins said. "I do not believe we will see offshore drilling off the state of Maine."
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