Public Resource

Oil and gas companies invest in legislators that vote against the environment

Matthew H. Goldberg et. al., Yale University & University of Cambridge

In this paper, researchers match campaign contribution data from oil and gas companies to Congressional legislators’ voting records on environmental issues as measured by the League of Conservation Voters and examine evidence for the influence hypothesis, investment hypothesis, or both. The results strongly support the investment hypothesis: the more a legislator votes against bills to protect the environment, the more money they later receive from oil and gas companies supporting their reelection. For example, a 10% decrease in voting for environmental legislation in 2014 predicted an additional $5,400 in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies in 2016. This analysis also shows that, instead of attempting to sway undecided or opposing legislators’ votes, oil and gas companies seem to provide financial rewards to members of Congress after they have voted against legislation to protect the environment.