Big Oil Trade Group’s Members Accepted COVID-Relief Bailout Money Intended for Small Business 

New research from government watchdog Accountable.US finds that American Petroleum Institute (API) members raked in more than $1.2 billion of taxpayer money throughout the pandemic – after the Big Oil trade group boasted its members didn’t need bailouts.  

While API was busy telling any news outlet that would listen that its members didn’t need COVID relief bailout money, the trade group’s lobbying reports suggest that API was asking lawmakers for handouts behind closed doors, and for the government to suspend federal inspections and audits. 

“The American Petroleum Institute cannot be trusted to level with the American people. After assuring taxpayers and the media that its member oil and gas companies had no need for COVID-relief bailouts, they pocketed more than $1.2 billion in aid intended to help mom and pop small businesses struggling to keep the lights on,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “Americans have suffered greatly during the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis, but API only cares about lining the pockets of its Big Oil buddies.” 

Under the Trump administration, several bailout programs were created to keep cash flowing to major oil corporations. With API at the center of it all, Big Oil raked in hundreds of millions of dollars under the guise of tax refunds and deferrals. 

API is the largest oil and gas lobby arm in the world, spending millions of dollars each year lobbying Congress. In 2018, the most recent year for which records are available, API had $234,349,360 in total revenue

Read Accountable.US’s full research report on API member bailouts here


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