As leading Democrats pursue racketeering charges against ExxonMobil, a lobbyist for a company accused of helping the oil giant deflect criticism of its environmental record is raising campaign cash for Hillary Clinton.
Mike Levin, the director of government affairs for FuelCell Energy, a green energy power plant manufacturer, will host a Clinton fundraiser in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Tickets range from $500 to $2,500, according to a copy of the invitation posted online.
The event comes just two months after ExxonMobil invested an undisclosed sum in FuelCell, which manufactures technology that could reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation.
"Such a high-profile effort to fight climate change could be interpreted by critics of the company as an attempt to improve the public image of Exxon Mobil at a time that it is under investigation by state attorneys general and news organizations, and attacked for its past funding of organizations that denied climate change," the New York Times noted in May.
Clinton herself has called on the Justice Department to investigate allegations of racketeering and fraud by ExxonMobil. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has said she referred the case to the FBI for investigation.
"There's a lot of evidence that they misled people" about the dangers of climate change, Clinton said.
Despite Clinton’s frequent denunciations of the oil industry—"Big Oil knows I’m not their friend," she said at a campaign stop in February—she has taken heat from the left wing of her party for her ties to the industry, advocacy on its behalf, and refusal to go as far as some of her opponents in attacking it.
In a tense exchange in March with a supporter of her then-rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Clinton lashed out at critics who pointed out that her campaign had accepted contributions from the fossil fuel industry.
"I’m so sick of the Sanders’ campaign lying about this," an irate Clinton told the Sanders supporter.
In fact, nearly every one of the many lobbyists currently fundraising for Clinton’s campaign has at one point represented a fossil fuel company.