By: Anastasia Dzharic, BloombergBusiness.comThe Keystone XL Pipeline has become the subject of a media controversy after it was discovered that one of the main supporters of the controversial project, American Energy Partners (AEP), has donated at least $1.5 million to the campaign backing Sen. Bernie Sanders Bernard (Bernie) SandersWarren: I will consider running for president after the midterms Bernie Sanders calls for FBI to investigate whether Kavanaugh told truth in hearing Bannon predicts ‘three-way race’ in 2020 MORE (I-Vt.) for president.
The company’s chief executive, Harold Hamm, and a number of other executives have given to Sanders, the only Democrat in the Senate, according to records provided by the senator’s campaign.
But the donations come as environmentalists and others question whether the pipeline, which would transport natural gas from North Dakota to Illinois, would actually create jobs or even provide the pipeline with the funds it needs to be built.AEP has denied that its donations to Sanders were influenced by the pipeline and that the company has been unfairly criticized.
The group has also said the donations were not connected to any particular candidate.
Still, a group of Democratic senators is demanding answers from the company and the Obama administration on the donation controversy.
A spokesman for Sen. Joe Manchin Joseph (Joe) ManchinSherrod Brown says he ‘would not be surprised’ if he’s the Democratic nominee for president by 2020Sens.
Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Ann WarrenFlake to visit New Hampshire amid 2020 speculation Biden to visit California as 2020 race heats up MORE (D-W.
Va.) said in a statement Thursday that “the Senate needs to get to the bottom of this matter immediately, as we have been doing for months.”
“We are concerned that AEP’s donations to Senator Sanders have been taken advantage of by his campaign,” the statement said.
“We are also concerned that these same AEP donations have also been used by other presidential candidates, including Senator Bernie Sanders, to raise campaign funds for their own campaigns.
That’s why we are calling on AEP to immediately remove these donations from their donor list.”AEP and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
But AEP and other supporters of Sen. Sanders, including former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, have said the contributions are not related to the pipeline.
In the months since the controversy broke, the Sanders campaign has made a number on donations to AEP, as well as to other groups supporting the senator.
A number of people who have given $10,000 to the Sanders and AEP campaigns have not provided their identities, the most recent filings show.
But AEP officials said the company would disclose the names of donors later.