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Nevada Senate candidate Adam Laxalt got oil and gas money as he defended the industry

The Republican nominee has claimed high gas prices have nothing to do with ‘greedy oil executives.’

By Josh Israel - July 27, 2022
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Adam Laxalt

As gas prices broke records in late May, Nevada Republican Senate nominee Adam Laxalt repeatedly defended the oil and gas industry and claimed “greedy oil executives” were not to blame. Last month, the industry rewarded his loyalty with more than $11,000 in campaign contributions.

In the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Congress’ decision to suspend Russian oil and gas imports in response, gas prices hit record highs across the country in June — averaging more than $5 per gallon. According to AAA, average prices were even higher in Nevada, exceeding $5.50 per gallon.

While these prices were bad news for consumers, they helped bring massive profits to oil and gas companies, which refused to take steps that might bring costs down.

Some Democratic lawmakers and consumer watchdog groups accused the industry of price gouging and prioritizing greed over customers.

Former Nevada Attorney General and unsuccessful 2018 Republican gubernatorial nominee Adam Laxalt, who is currently challenging Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) repeatedly rushed to their defense.

“When you see President Biden get up there and Senator Masto and they start talking about the Putin price hike. More recently, Senator Masto and the Democrats are blaming greedy oil executives for our gas prices,” he said at a May 27 campaign event. “Recently, they’ve been blaming meat conglomerates for the price of meat and everything that goes up. How many, much more finger-pointing are they going to do?”

“This is not greedy oil executives. This is the Democrats. They gave you $5.60 gas that we have today,'” he said the next day at another event.

“It means your gas is $5.60 a gallon in Las Vegas. That’s not Putin’s fault, is it? It’s not greedy oil executives like Catherine Cortez Masto is now pretending like it’s Big Oil’s fault,” Laxalt complained at a third campaign event.

In the days that followed, the contributions poured in.

According to his Federal Election Commission filings, Laxalt received at least $11,050 from oil and gas company executives and corporate PACs in June. That included a $5,000 donation from Continental Resources’ political action committee.

Over the second quarter of 2022, he reported at least $28,700 from oil and gas sector donors in total.

Neither the Laxalt campaign nor Continental Resources immediately responded to inquiries for this story.

Laxalt has continued to defend oil and gas executives against allegations of greed, making the same argument in a Fox Business Network appearance on July 19.

In addition to the campaign donations, Laxalt has been funded by the fossil fuel industry in other ways.

According to his mandatory Senate financial disclosure forms, Laxalt and his wife own tens of thousands of dollars worth of stock in Chevron Corporation and other oil and gas businesses.

He has also been paid millions of dollars for his work at Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, a major conservative law firm that calls itself “the ‘go-to-firm’ to sue the federal government.”

While Laxalt has not disclosed his own client list, the company’s website indicates that it has represented several oil and gas companies and that “subsidies of Chevron Corporation” are currently a client “in a suit in the Court of Federal Claims asserting that the United States must indemnify them for tens of millions of dollars environmental cleanup costs incurred at three different Oil Refineries.”

As a candidate, Laxalt has advocated for prioritizing unlimited oil and gas drilling over climate and environmental protections. He has also opposed President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which would have invested $555 billion in clean energy and climate change infrastructure.

Cortez Masto backed the Build Back Better plan and has pushed for long-term investments in clean energy, while also co-authoring legislation aimed at lowering gasoline prices in the short term.

Political experts consider the November Senate race a toss-up.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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