Dozens of employees from one fossil fuel company recently donated more than $50,000 to Sinema

Dozens of employees from one fossil fuel company recently donated more than $50,000 to Sinema
Kyrsten Sinema in 2016, Wikimedia Commons

Everyone loves a good pizza party, which is what I’m imagining the energy giant NextEra held in offices across the country as the company compelled employees to donate to Kyrsten Sinema last year. A reading of donations to the Arizona senator from 2021 Q4 is a who’s-who of executives, vice presidents, and managers within the company, broken up occasionally with infusions of cash from workers at Florida Power and Light—a subsidy of NextEra—and regular Americans who felt that Sinema’s position as a self-proclaimed progressive Democrat would somehow shield her from turning out like *gestures vaguely* this. The Guardian homed in on the mega-donors who met with Sinema during a Jan. 18 event at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston. They include ConocoPhilips head Ryan Lance and Continental Resources chairman Harold Hamm.

Rolling Stone, meanwhile, looked at GOP mega-donors interested in Sinema’s obstructionism like Harlan Crow, an avid Greg Abbott fan, and Ken Langone, who also gave fellow useless Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin a cash infusion. Crow was one of a few donors who were refunded because of their largesse, though those funds have likely been made up by the more than 45 NextEra employees on that Q4 list. The donations, which range from $250 to $2,000, total $51,250 from NextEra alone. PACs associated with the fossil fuel industry, like ExxonMobil PAC, American Petroleum Industry PAC, and Devon Energy Corporation PAC, also showed their love for Sinema to the tune of $2,500 apiece. Hope the cheese and pepperoni were worth it to thwart democracy, y’all!

Kidding aside and no disrespect to pizza, these donors are relative newcomers to Sinema. FEC data shows little movement from NextEra when it comes to lining Sinema’s pockets, and early donor cycles show more teachers and firefighters, plus venture capitalists and angel investors donating to Sinema instead. It’s quite the about-face for a candidate many hailed as a welcomed breath of fresh air for Arizona, who cut her teeth in as an adjunct professor and faculty member for the Center for Progressive Leadership before turning to politics.

If you truly follow the money, NextEra will lead you to its ambitious Sonoran Solar Project, which many, many Arizonans are opposed to based on its proximity to the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The GOP mega-donors interested in courting Sinema are doing so because it’s business as usual (regardless of party) if they can get someone to vote against the country’s better interests. But for NextEra, an eye-catching lawmaker doing its dirty work would make that more than $50K in donations well worth the investment.

There’ve been reports of Sinema losing support from donors who view her as a traitorous egoist more interested in boosting her profile than equality. The same does not go for Sinema’s lawmaker-in-arms Manchin. According to CNBC, Manchin’s rejection of Build Back Better earned him $300,000 over the course of last quarter. Manchin is worth $7.6 million thanks to his coal dealings. Can you imagine how much Sinema’s worth could balloon to were she to firmly reject what little Democratic support she’s got in favor of aligning with her recent batch of donors, like Texas Energy’s Kane Weiner and Pacific Power Source Inc. president Kevin Voelcker? The last thing the country needs is Manchin 2.0 or worse. Hell, Manchin in his current state of being isn’t all that great. Call on both Manchin and Sinema to return their corporate and GOP donations.

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