In a stunning reversal on Friday, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) overturned a two-month-old ban on accepting campaign donations from fossil fuel companies.
The overturning of a rule passed in June follows an outcry from some unionized workers declaring the ban threatened to estrange the Democratic Party’s base.
Approved by the DNC’s Executive Committee 30–2, the motion introduced by DNC Chair Tom Perez reads:
“The DNC gratefully acknowledges and will continue to welcome the longstanding and generous contributions of workers, including those in energy and related industries, who organize and donate to Democratic candidates individually or through their unions’ or employers’ political action committees.”
Under the new DNC rules, the party will now accept donations by those employees in the energy industry, specifically from coal and oil sectors.
Defending the decision, Perez told reporters in a conference call labor members sounded alarm to the ban, saying it “attacked” workers in the fossil fuel industry.
“We have to draw the line that we are indeed a party of a big tent where all working people are welcome. We’re not a party that punishes workers simply based on how they make ends meet,” Perez said.
“We have been engaging with folks in the labor movement to address their concerns. At the same time, we remain committed to the Democratic Party platform, which states unequivocally our support for combating climate change.”
The reversal caps a furious battle over fossil fuel donations from within the party. The June ban was authored by DNC committee member, Christine Pelosi, daughter of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
A passionate foe of the oil and gas industry, Pelosi mounted a last-minute battle to alter language in Perez’s resolution to limit donations to employees in the energy sector and to keep the ban on corporate PAC donations in place, but was defeated 28–4.
Outraged by the move, the “Green” wing of the Democratic Party vented displeasure at the move:
“I am furious that the DNC would effectively undo a resolution passed just two months ago just as the movement to ban fossil fuel corporate PAC money is growing (and Democrats are winning),” said liberal activist R.L. Miller, a co-sponsor of the original resolution that banned fossil fuel PAC money, to the HuffPost.
Following Friday’s vote, the Bernie Sanders-led progressive advocacy organization, Our Revolution, called on the DNC to reinstate the fossil fuel donation ban and commit to promoting renewable energy sources.
[The Intercept] [The Hill] [HuffPost] [Photo courtesy The Coach’s Team]