On October 30, 2015 David Sirota and Andrew Perez writing for the International Business Times published “Hillary Clinton Demands Probe of Exxon After Oil Giant Stops Funding Clinton Foundation”. Perez and Sirota’s article focused on the influence of money on the 2016 Presidential elections. It is significant because democracy is predicated on electing officials based upon their qualifications, not funding.
Sirota and Perez report on Clinton’s call for an investigation into Exxon, after Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley had previously called for an investigation of Exxon’s suppression of climate change information. A month prior, on September 19, USA Today reported that Exxon, which had sponsored the Clinton Foundation in previous years, was no longer an active sponsor. Clinton called for an investigation after being asked if she would do so by representatives of 350 Action at a town hall event in New Jersey.
Voters expect their elected officials to represent people and not the special interests who donate to candidates’ campaigns and foundations. Donald Trump, the republican frontrunner, publicly communicates to voters that he is not controlled by special interests because he does not accept money from lobbyists—though some reporters have questioned his claims of a “self-funded” campaign. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his campaign have openly bragged about their record-breaking campaign financing with an average donation of just 27 dollars from 1.35 million people, resulting in 3.25 million donations. Clinton, on the other hand, received most of her money from donors contributing the maximum allowed donation of $2,700. Clinton’s lesser number of larger donations has convinced individuals that Sanders, who receives a larger number of small donations, better represents the voters. By refusing to call for an investigation of Exxon until they discontinued donations to the Clinton Foundation, Clinton raises suspicions that she is loyal to large donors such as Exxon.
The independent news coverage concerning Clinton’s statement that she would investigate Exxon following the termination of its donations to the Clinton Foundation has been extensive. On October 29, 2015 Think Progress, an independent news source, revealed that Hillary reinforced the investigation of Exxon and had previously received money from Exxon for her campaign. Mint Press News, the Washington Free Beacon, and Breitbart also covered Clinton’s call for an Exxon investigation.
In the current presidential race the issue of money affecting politician’s positions on critical issues has been prominent. This is an important story concerning the issue which has regrettably only been covered by independent media despite its significance regarding the overall democracy of the upcoming election and politics in general.
Perez, Andrew, and David Sirota. “Election 2016: Hillary Clinton Demands Probe of Exxon After Oil Giant Stops Funding Clinton Foundation.” International Business Times. 30 Oct. 2015, http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/election-2016-hillary-clinton-demands-probe-exxon-after-oil-giant-stops-funding.
Atkin, Emily. “Hillary Clinton Endorses Federal Investigation Of Exxon.” Think Progress. 29 Oct. 2015. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/10/29/3717602/clinton-investigate-exxon/.
Student Researcher: Nicklas Gardner (California State University, Maritime Academy)
Faculty Evaluator: Nolan Higdon (California State University, Maritime Academy)