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Beto Removed From ‘No Fossil Fuel’ Pledge After Report Finds He Accepted Oil Money

Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke has been removed from a list of politicians who have pledged not to accept fossil fuel money after it was revealed that he had, in fact, accepted campaign cash from oil and gas executives.

Outgoing Rep. O’Rourke — who became a darling of the left during his failed bid to unseat Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz — had originally vowed not to accept high-dollar donations from fossil fuel companies during the 2018 midterms, joining a growing chorus of Democratic lawmakers who are hostile to traditional energy producers. The rising Democratic star signed his name onto a “No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge” in late April.

Under the stipulations of the pledge, signers agree to “not knowingly accept any contributions over $200 from the PACs, executives, or front groups of fossil fuel companies—companies whose primary business is the extraction, processing, distribution, or sale of oil, gas, or coal.”

However, a Sludge report released earlier in December found that the Democrat did accept campaign donations from fossil fuel interests — a lot of it. O’Rourke received a total of $430,000 from executives working on the oil and gas sector. On top of that, he did not return 29 different “large donations,” which consisted of donations of $200 or more, from fossil fuel executives.

The large donations were a direct violation of the pledge.

In the wake of the report, Oil Change USA, the nonprofit organization behind the “No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge,” removedO’Rourke’s name from their list.

It’s not immediately clear what O’Rourke plans to do about the issue. David Turnbull, Oil Change USA’s strategic communications director, pointed toward a misunderstanding on the part of O’Rourke’s team. The Texas Democrat may have not understood that the pledge didn’t just include fossil fuel PACs, but also executives.

“While we are pleased he hasn’t taken fossil fuel PAC money, he needs to go further in order to be in compliance with the full No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge,” Turnbull stated to Sludge. “We hope to speak with members of Beto’s organization to encourage Beto to sign on to the full No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, including rejecting major contributions from top executives of fossil fuel companies.”

A spokesman for the Sunrise Movement, a left-wing environmental group, has also indicated that O’Rourke may have been confused about the specifics of the pledge.

“It seems there was a misunderstanding from the O’Rourke camp about the nature of the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge,” Evan Weber, the Sunrise Movement’s political direct, stated. “The No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge goes beyond asking candidates to swear off donations from fossil fuel corporate PACs.”

Despite losing his Senate bid, and nearly squandering all of his record-breaking campaign cash, O’Rourke is viewed as a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination

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