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Trump oil CEOs dinner: House Democrat probe

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Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) speaks during a House Committee on Oversight and Accountability hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 28, 2023.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

The House Oversight Committee’s top Democrat asked oil executives to reveal whether former President Donald Trump had proposed a “quid-pro-quo” arrangement to them at a recent Florida fundraising dinner, according to letters released Tuesday by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.

The letters arose from a Washington Post report that Trump hosted the executives for dinner Apr. 11 at his private club, Mar-a-Lago. “You all are wealthy enough,” Trump reportedly told the assembled guests. “You should raise $1 billion to return me to the White House.”

The former president then reportedly told the oil executives that if they helped him win another term as president, he would reverse the Biden administration’s freeze on permits for liquefied natural gas exports, auction more oil drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico and roll back rules on auto emissions.

The reporting raises “significant potential ethical, campaign finance, and legal issues,” Raskin wrote.

The issues “flow from the effective sale of American energy and regulatory policy to commercial interests in return for large campaign contributions,” wrote Raskin, who is the ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee.

Raskin asked the executives to provide descriptions of any discussions related to policy proposals or campaign finance they had at the dinner, as well as any efforts by the CEOs’ respective companies to support Trump’s campaign.

A general view of Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property, ahead of his watch party event to mark the Super Tuesday primary elections, in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. March 5, 2024. 

Marco Bello | Reuters

The letters were sent to Chevron CEO Mike Wirth, ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods, Continental Resources CEO Robert Lawler, Chesapeake Energy CEO Domenic Dell’Osso, Occidental Petroleum CEO Vicki Hollub, Venture Global CEO Mike Sabel, Cheniere Energy CEO Jack Fusco, EQT CEO Toby Rice and the CEO of major oil lobby American Petroleum Institute (API) Mike Sommers.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the congressional request.

A spokeswoman for the oil industry group API told CNBC that it, “regularly meets with policymakers and candidates and shares our priorities – the same priorities that we post in detail on our website; in speeches, statements and public events; in regulatory filings and court dockets.”

“The meeting last month was no different,” API’s Andrea Wood said in a statement.

Trump would hardly be the first presidential candidate who made campaign promises to certain groups in order as he asked for donations.

But the wining and dining of executives from just one industry at a candidate’s residence, like Mar-a-Lago, raised eyebrows.

Corporations are prohibited from donating directly to…

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