“American” Petroleum Institute, led by Saudis, financed ads attacking Democrats

Saudi-Led Oil Lobby Group Financed 2012 Dark Money Attack Ads
Lee Fang on November 29, 2012 – 5:10 PM ET

The “American” in American Petroleum Institute, the country’s largest oil lobby group, is a misnomer. As Ireported for The Nation in August, the group has changed over the years, and is now led by men like Tofiq Al-Gabsani, a Saudi Arabian national who heads a Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco) subsidiary, the state-run oil company that also helps finance the American Petroleum Institute. Al-Gabsani is also aregistered foreign agent for the Saudi government.

New disclosures retrieved today, showing some of API’s spending over the course of last year, reveal that API used its membership dues (from the world’s largest oil companies like Chevron and Aramco) to finance several dark money groups airing attack ads in the most recent election cycle.

Last year, API gave nearly half a million to the following dark money groups running political ads against Democrats and in support of Republicans:

• $50,000 to Americans for Prosperity’s 501(c)(4) group, which ran ads against President Obama and congressional Democrats.

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