DNC votes unanimously to no longer accept money from fossil fuel companies

It remains to be seen how much this will impact party fundraising.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (3rd L). CREDIT: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (3rd L). CREDIT: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has voted unanimously to ban contributions from fossil fuel companies, in a victory for activists and environmental advocates.

Following a vote over the weekend, the DNC will no longer accept donations from corporate political action committees (PAC) associated with oil, gas, and coal companies, HuffPost first reported Tuesday. The political organization reportedly adopted a resolution put forward by Christine Pelosi, the daughter of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The resolution calls for banning all “corporate PAC contributions from the fossil fuel industry that conflict with our DNC Platform” in the name of encouraging Democrats “to walk our talk in harmony with our stated beliefs and convictions.”

According to HuffPost, the DNC will also consider banning contributions of over $200 from donors employed by the fossil fuel industry. That vote will take place in August during a board meeting in Chicago.

The oil and gas industry, in addition to coal companies, have historically contributed far more to Republicans than to Democrats. Nearly 90 percent of oil and gas contributions in 2016 went to Republicans. For the coal industry, those numbers are closer to nearly 100 percent, according to HuffPost and the Center for Responsive Politics.


Oil and gas companies spent over $7.5 million on 2016 Democratic races.  Republican races raised seven times that amount. And with a number of Democratic candidates having long eschewed contributions from the oil, coal, and gas industries, it’s unclear to what extent the recent DNC vote will actually impact party fundraising.

But environmental organizations have still pushed political arms like the DNC to reject such donations. And while more politically conservative states like Texas and South Dakota are often connected to fossil fuel interests, a number of states where progressives dominate see similar trends.

In Democrat-heavy Massachusetts, the influence of the state’s largest utilities, National Grid and Eversource, is ever-present. Both companies purport to endorse renewable energy but are deeply intertwined with natural gas and have historically lobbied for pipeline contracts.

In Virginia, where Democrats often triumph at the state level, Dominion Energy wields outsized power. That state is currently embroiled in a war over two pipelines, the Mountain Valley pipeline and the Atlantic Coast pipeline, both of which have drawn condemnation from locals and environmentalists while earning support from fossil fuel interests.

Democratic candidates have also faced scrutiny over their ties to fossil fuels. Hillary Clinton came under fire from Greenpeace in 2016 over donations from oil, gas, and coal. California Governor Jerry Brown (D), meanwhile, has historically gone easy on the state’s fossil fuel industries, working closely with petroleum companies and courting industry officials.


In 2016, Democratic National Convention organizers also sparked controversy when a number of events hosted promoted the American Petroleum Institute. While the convention committee is separate from the wider DNC, the organizations are affiliated with one another.

The DNC had not replied to request for comment from ThinkProgress about the vote at time of publishing.