On Thursday, Senate Democrats launched an investigation into former President Donald Trump‘s meeting with oil and gas executives last month to determine if he proposed a quid pro quo deal after asking for $1 billion for his 2024 presidential campaign.

During a fundraising dinner held by Trump on April 11 at Mar-a-Lago, his private resort in Florida, Trump told 20 oil and gas executives that they would save much more than $1 billion in avoided taxes and legal fees due to the relaxed regulations he would implement as president.

In their second investigation into Trump’s April fundraising dinner, Senate Democrats are examining whether Trump proposed a “policies-for-money transaction” to oil and gas executives, seeking their support to win the election in return for reversing Biden’s environmental regulations.

In the past, Trump has stated his intentions to overturn Biden’s energy policies, especially those that support solar and wind energy, and electric vehicles, vowing to “drill, baby, drill” if he wins in November.

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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), chairs of the Finance and Budget committees, sent letters to nine oil companies and industry trade associations, inquiring about their involvement in the meeting and accusing them of “conferring on how to trade campaign cash for policy changes.”

“Time and time again, both Mr. Trump and the US oil and gas industry have proved they are willing to sell out Americans to pad their own pockets,” the senators wrote to the companies.

With recipients including influential oil and gas companies such as Chevron, Exxon Mobil and the American Petroleum Institute, senators requested copies of any draft executive orders, regulatory proposals, or other policy-related documents that the companies may have created “for the purpose of potential use in a possible Trump administration.”

Wyden and Whitehouse’s inquiry marks the latest in a series of Democratic investigations into the oil industry in recent weeks. As oil executives increase donations to Trump’s campaign, Democrats worry about the potential impact of Trump’s promised relaxation of climate regulations on Biden’s campaign.

“Such an obvious policies-for-money transaction reeks of cronyism and corruption,” Wyden and Whitehouse wrote. “This solicitation, coupled with troubling reports that fossil fuel interests and other companies have been drafting language for use in executive orders favorable to their business during a possible Trump Administration, demand immediate additional inquiry.”

In response, American Petroleum Institute spokesperson Andrew Woods criticized Democrats’ efforts, writing, “This is yet another election-year stunt to distract from America’s need for more energy, including more oil and natural gas, to power our economy and combat persistent inflation.”

“API meets with candidates and policymakers to discuss the need for sound energy policies, and this meeting was no different,” added Woods. “Our policy priorities are clear…and we will continue to advocate for policies that strengthen America’s energy advantage.”

The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), is seeking similar information from the companies. Such letters are generally the first step before subpoenas can be issued.

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