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2 Nov 2016

USA: Political funding committee controlled by BP supports candidates who undermine human rights, deny climate science, says Chris Avery

Human rights expert Christopher Avery has raised concerns about support by BP's political action committee for US Senate and Congressional candidates who question the science of climate change, oppose legislation to expand health care coverage, oppose laws to guarantee equal pay for women, and have used racist rhetoric against President Obama, questioning his place of birth and his nationality.  Mr. Avery has contacted BP and its board directly with these concerns; see his letter to BP below.

We invited BP to respond; see its response below.  Mr. Avery issued a rejoinder to BP, noting that "BP...seems to be trying to avoid taking responsibility for its Political Action Committee (PAC) funding far-right-wing candidates (including climate-change-deniers) in the U.S. who have a record of undermining fundamental human rights", but the "BP PAC board (composed of BP senior managers in the U.S.) decides which candidates are supported by the PAC".  His rejoinder highlighted that companies including BP give employees perks to induce supporting their PACs.  A Reuters report on company PACs in the United States generally found that some workers have reported retribution for "not supporting a CEO's politics".  The Reuters article and further information about the ways that companies control PACs and can use them to advance their legislative agenda are below.

We have invited BP to respond to his rejoinder; his rejoinder and BP's response to it are below.  Mr. Avery issued a further statement following BP's rejoinder, also available below.

(Mr. Avery is former Deputy Head of Research and former Legal Advisor at Amnesty International's International Secretariat, and was the founder and first Director of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.  He has no current connection to either Amnesty International or the Resource Centre.)

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