The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Friday passed a resolution effectively reversing a ban on donations from fossil fuel companies. The move, which comes just two months after the DNC adopted a resolution banning donations from fossil fuel companies by a unanimous vote, has infuriated activists.
“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,” R.L. Miller, the president of the super PAC Climate Hawks Vote who co-sponsored the original resolution, told The Huffington Post.
DNC Chair Tom Perez introduced a resolution stating the party “support[s] fossil fuel workers” and accept donations from “employers’ political action committees.” It was approved by a 30-2 vote.
“You can’t do right when you’re getting donations from companies that do wrong,” tweeted actress, activist and candidate Cynthia Nixon, a socialist running for the Democratic nomination against Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York.
The DNC argued that the new resolution is “not a reversal,” as spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa put it. She claimed after the vote that “any review of our current donations reflects” the Democrats’ “commitment” to turn away the fossil fuel industry. The DNC also claims not to accepted any fossil fuel donations since adopting the ban.
The initial resolution banned the committee from accepting contributions from corporate PACs with ties to oil, gas and coal companies. It permitted the DNC to accept individual donations from those employed in those industries.
Christine Pelosi, the primary author of the initial resolution and daughter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., planned to champion a second proposal in August. It would’ve further prohibited contributions over $200 from individuals who work for the fossil fuel industry.
The DNC’s lackluster fundraising capabilities has been well-reported and documented since Mr. Perez took over as chair. The committee has had to take out loans to effectively keep the lights on, and some Democrats quietly question whether the party can compete on a nationwide scale in November.
The party’s special election candidates have succeeded on the back of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) fundraising, alone.
According to the latest filings, the DNC is $6.3 million in debt with only $9 million cash on hand (CoH). That compares to the Republican National Committee (RNC), which has $50.7 million CoH and zero in debt.
“As California burns, @TomPerez wants the DNC to undo its ban on fossil fuel contributions,” George Zornick, the editor of The Nation tweeted.
No matter the excuse, the party’s mediate allies and activists aren’t buying it. The devil is in the details, according to activists, who wonder whether it’ll apply only to campaigns in practice.
“Smart Democrats are very good at splitting hairs and nitpicking,” Miller said. “It’s trying to manufacture distinctions out of whole cloth.”