Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-R.I.) diagram of contributions from the energy sector to Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R-Okla.) presented during the latter’s confirmation hearing. Photo: C-SPAN

By Niv Sultan
24 January 2017

(Center or Responsive Politics) – Scott Pruitt’s confirmation hearing last week involved some pointed visual props. Making the case that Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general who is President Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is cozy with the energy sector, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) held up a chart full of boxes and arrows.

All the organizations listed on the top half of the chart had contributed to Pruitt’s electoral efforts. At one point, Whitehouse asked Pruitt if the donors had also given to Pruitt’s Oklahoma Strong Leadership PAC. Pruitt’s response: “I’m not sure about that, senator.”

Luckily for Pruitt, we at OpenSecrets Blog can help him out. In the 2016 election cycle, among the organizations on the chart that have PACs, none used them to contribute to Pruitt’s Oklahoma Strong. Individually, J. Larry Nichols, a co-founder and the chairman emeritus of Devon Energy, gave the leadership PAC $5,000 in 2015. 

Other PACs filled in where the groups on Whitehouse’s poster fell short, providing Oklahoma Strong with $40,000 in 2015-2016 — 40 percent of which came from organizations with connections to the energy sector. Alliance Coal kicked in $5,000, for example, and $1,000 came from Cozen O’Connor, a law firm that has an energy, environmental and public utilities practice. [more]

Energy sector and EPA nominee: Oklahoma Strong

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