Political contributions and lobbying

ExxonMobil believes that registering and voting, keeping informed on political matters, serving in civic bodies and campaigning and office-holding at local, state and national levels are important rights and responsibilities of the citizens of a democracy.

Article Feb. 5, 2021

Political contributions and lobbying

We believe that sound public policy is achieved when a variety of informed voices participate in the political process. For these reasons, ExxonMobil exercises its right to support and participate in policy discussions.

Corporate political contributions

The Board of Directors has authorized ExxonMobil to make political contributions to candidate committees and other political organizations as permitted by applicable laws in the United States and Canada. ExxonMobil’s support of candidates and political organizations reflects corporate interests and not those of any individual employee, officer or independent director. The political contributions of the corporation, as well as the contributions from the company-sponsored political action committee, are reviewed with the board of directors annually and are routinely verified during internal audits of the corporation’s public and government affairs activities.

In 2020, ExxonMobil contributed $300,000 in support of five national political organizations of state officials. In addition, the company contributed over $240,000 in election support to over 200 state-level candidates and nine committees in six U.S. states. Contributions are reported to applicable governing agencies. As required of federal contractors by law, ExxonMobil has not used corporate treasury funds to support any federal candidates, national political parties or other political committees, including Super PACs. Also at the federal level, ExxonMobil has chosen not to use treasury funds or political action committee funds for direct independent political expenditures, including electioneering communications. 

Corporate political contributions – annual summaries

Itemized lists of corporate political contributions to the national political organizations and state-level candidates and committees for the past five years are available here. 

ExxonMobil PAC

As with many corporations, ExxonMobil offers certain eligible employees and retiree shareholders an opportunity to participate in the U.S. political process by contributing to a company-sponsored Political Action Committee (PAC). Participation in the PAC is completely voluntary. Political contributions made from the PAC are reported monthly to the Federal Election Commission, and are a matter of public record.

In 2020, the ExxonMobil PAC disbursed almost $940,000 to federal and state candidates and committees. A listing of ExxonMobil PAC contributions for the 2019-2020 election cycle is available below. A detailed schedule of ExxonMobil PAC contributions from previous years can be accessed on the U.S. Federal Election Commission website at http://www.fec.gov.

Corporate PAC contributions

Political lobbying and advocacy

Approach and Governance

ExxonMobil engages in lobbying in the United States at both the Federal and State levels to advocate our positions on issues that affect our Corporation and the energy industry. We have a responsibility to our customers, employees, communities and shareholders to represent their interests in public policy discussions that impact our business.

ExxonMobil has an established practice to determine which public policy issues are important to the Corporation. This practice includes soliciting input from relevant business lines and functional departments such as Law and Public and Government Affairs. ExxonMobil’s Vice President for Public and Government Affairs, who reports directly to the Management Committee, is responsible for the stewardship of identified key public policy issues which guide the company’s lobbying efforts and political contributions. Each year, the Vice President for Public and Government Affairs presents the company’s political contributions, lobbying activities and lobbying expenditures to the full Board, along with the Board’s Public Issues and Contributions Committee (PICC), which is comprised entirely of independent outside directors. In addition, reviews of the company’s key issues are conducted by the Management Committee several times a year as part of a regular oversight process.

The Board fully supports accountability, appropriate transparency, and disclosure of lobbying activities and expenditures. Lobbying and political engagements are addressed as part of the Board’s oversight of the company’s enterprise-risk framework, including potential reputational risk. The company follows a strict internal review and oversight process to ensure its public policy positions are aligned with lobbying activities. Without exception, the company’s lobbying efforts are aligned with its publicly available positions.

Lobbying is highly regulated in the United States. ExxonMobil fully complies with federal and state regulations by reporting its federal lobbying to the U.S. Congress and state-level lobbying to appropriate entities as required. In 2020, ExxonMobil reported federal lobbying expenses totaling $8.69 million in its public Lobbying Disclosure Act filings. This total includes expenses associated with the costs of employee federal lobbying, as well as those portions of payments to trade associations, coalitions and think tanks that are spent on federal lobbying. ExxonMobil employees and consultants were registered to lobby in 30 state and local jurisdictions and the company reported $971,000 in state and local lobbying expenses in 2020.

Snapshot of Key Issues: Positions & Principles 

ExxonMobil’s positions on many key issues are available through a variety of sources, including this website, our Sustainability Report, Energy & Carbon Summary, annual proxy statement, press releases, and the Exxchange, ExxonMobil’s advocacy community portal. Our lobbying and political contributions are aligned with these positions. 

In addition to the above referenced materials, the summaries below provide an illustration of our views on several important public policy issues that are currently being debated. 

Climate Change and support of the Paris Agreement

Our company has supported the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate since its inception, and has consistently voiced support for U.S. participation in the agreement. We have also actively engaged with government officials to encourage remaining in the Paris Agreement. 

ExxonMobil is a member of the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative, which brings together 12 major energy companies to collaborate on emission reduction technology and best practices, as well as the Climate Leadership Council, which advocates for a carbon tax in the U.S. Both of these groups are specifically aimed at engaging in efforts to address the risks of climate change and help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

We actively support sound climate policies that will:

  • Promote global participation;
  • Let market prices drive selection of solutions;
  • Ensure a uniform and predictable cost of greenhouse gas emissions across the economy;
  • Minimize regulatory complexity and administrative costs;
  • Maximize transparency 
  • Provide flexibility for future adjustments to react to developments in technology, climate science and policy

In recent years, several trade associations we have had leadership positions in, such as the American Petroleum Institute and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have taken positions more closely aligned with our views on climate change. 

In December 2020, the company announced new 2025 emission reductions plans and noted its intent to provide Scope 3 emissions data beginning in 2021. 

Energy Markets

Government policies should be focused on establishing parameters that allow free markets to work. A level playing field within our energy markets is vital if consumers and families are to continue to have access to affordable, reliable, and safe energy for homes and businesses. Preferential treatment for certain energy sources undermines the market and could raise costs for consumers, families and businesses.

With stable and unbiased public policies supporting open, competitive free markets, the energy industry and companies like ExxonMobil can help further an economic resurgence with disciplined investments in new projects, new technologies and new jobs that will help ensure reliable, and efficient energy for the U.S. economy.

International Trade

ExxonMobil supports an open, unbiased and rules-based trade and investment system and sees those principles as essential to global free enterprise and to promoting productivity and economic growth. Furthermore, free trade and strong investment protections buttress energy security by encouraging access to diverse energy supplies and production sufficient to meet growing global demand.

ExxonMobil relies on free trade agreements and policies, including for example strong investment protection provisions in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA). Providing a level playing field to import and export goods and services ultimately gives consumers greater choice.

Sound trade policies and investment protections also enable effective supply chains and the efficient movement of capital, people, information and all products.

Trade Associations

ExxonMobil provides support to a variety of trade associations, think tanks and coalitions in order to promote informed dialogue and sound public policy in areas pertinent to the Corporation’s interests. As highlighted in the section above, these areas include a wide range of topics, among them: civil justice reform, corporate governance, education, economic development, energy, environment, fiscal policy, international trade, labor/pension matters, public health, regulatory issues, sustainability and workplace safety.  

Given the diversity of ExxonMobil’s global business and the unique operating environment in the dozens of countries we operate in, we are members of various types of organizations. Some are general business associations and others are more particular to our industry. A portion of the support provided to these organizations may be used by the organizations for lobbying. Where required by law, ExxonMobil reports the portion of dues used for lobbying purposes, such as the quarterly Lobbying Disclosure Act filings in the U.S.

ExxonMobil’s participation often includes taking leadership positions on trade association boards, policy committees and technical work groups, which we utilize to learn from others and share our positions and principles. We consistently communicate our policy principles to the trade associations of which we are members. While it would be impractical to expect perfect alignment between ExxonMobil’s policy positions and those of every trade association, and unreasonable to expect any single member of a given association to ensure that was the case, we encourage our trade associations to support initiatives that we believe in, including the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We believe trade associations we participate in are well aware of our support for the Paris Agreement.

The company considers whether trade association memberships or any perceived policy misalignments pose a material risk to the Corporation, including potential risks related to shareholder relations, legal, financial and the company’s reputation. While we reserve the right to initiate, sustain or withdraw support for an organization, at any time, several principles guide our approach: 

  • We believe our participation in trade associations enables us to effectively advocate for positions we support, share our views and learn from others companies, and influence trade association policy debates.
  • We do not expect that a third party organization made up of dozens or even hundreds of members will be perfectly aligned with our views on all topics at all times.
  • Our support does not constitute an endorsement of every policy position or point of view expressed by a recipient organization.
  • We regularly review our memberships.

Below is an alphabetical list of the U.S.-based trade associations to whom in 2019 Exxon Mobil Corp. or its affiliates provided $100,000 or more in support and a portion of that was reported to us as being used for lobbying. These organizations are engaged on a wide range of public policy issues relevant to our business. They represent approximately 95 percent of the company’s annual trade association expenditures. 

Organization  Primary areas relevant to ExxonMobil's participation 
Alaska Oil and Gas Association Energy and environment; fiscal policy; workplace safety
American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers Energy and environment; workplace safety
American Chemistry Council Energy and environment; regulatory issues
American Council for Capital Formation Fiscal policy; governance
American Petroleum Institute Energy and environment; fiscal policy; trade; workplace safety; regulatory issues
American Tort Reform Association Civil justice reform
Business Roundtable Governance; economic development; fiscal policy; trade
Center for Liquefied Natural Gas Energy and environment; trade
Civil Justice Reform Group Civil justice reform 
Greater Houston Partnership Economic development; education; public health
Independent Petroleum Association of America Energy and environment; regulatory issues
Louisiana Chemical Association Energy and environment; regulatory issues; workplace safety

Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association

Energy and environment; fiscal policy; workplace safety 
Marcellus Shale Coalition Energy and environment; workplace safety 
National Association of Manufacturers Economic development; regulatory issues; fiscal policy 
Natural Gas Supply Association Energy and environment; economic development
National Petroleum Council Energy and environment; trade; regulatory issues
New Mexico Oil & Gas Association Energy and environment; fiscal policy; workplace safety
Texans for Lawsuit Reform Civil justice reform 
Texas Oil & Gas Association

Energy and environment; fiscal policy; workplace safety

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Economic development; regulatory issues; fiscal policy 
U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform Civil justice reform
U.S. Chamber Litigation Center Civil justice reform 
United States Council for International Business Regulatory issues; trade
Western Energy Alliance Energy and environment; regulatory issues
Western States Petroleum Association  Energy and environment; fiscal policy; workplace safety
This list has been prepared in good faith and is for general information purposes only. Variances in payment and fee schedules may impact the accuracy of the information presented, and this list should not be taken as definitive.

Federal lobbying reports

Below are ExxonMobil’s 2017-2020 lobby reports filed with the U.S. Congress.

ExxonMobil also provides support to organizations that promote international relationships, institutions with strong research capabilities that contribute to informed policy decision-making, and organizations that assess public policy alternatives on issues of importance to the energy industry. Read more about ExxonMobil’s contributions for Public Information and Policy Research.

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