Thursday, July 19, 2018
Business

PolitiFact Florida: Heckler claims Rubio took three-quarters of a million from fossil fuel executives

The statement

Says Sen. Marco Rubio took "three quarters of a million dollars from fossil fuel executives" during the 2016 Senate election.

Marco Rubio's heckler, Aug. 22 during Rubio's speech to Seminole County GOP

The ruling

September Porras, a Swarthmore College student who is a member of the Sunrise Movement, a national group of climate change activists, challenged Rubio's links to fossil fuels at a GOP fundraiser last month.

Porras told PolitiFact that she obtained the dollar amount from the Center for Responsive Politics, an independent clearinghouse for campaign finance data that publishes its data at opensecrets.org.

The center's data for the top 20 recipients of oil and gas donations during the 2016 cycle showed that Rubio received $753,201. That amount put Rubio in fourth place for oil and gas donations behind three other presidential candidates: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Separately, the center compiled industry donations for the Florida Senate candidates in 2016. That analysis shows that Rubio received $524,877 from oil and gas. Rubio received more money from six other sectors, including retirees, security/investment and Republican/conservative.

Over Rubio's career as a federal candidate and politician between 2009 and 2018, he has taken $1.1 million from oil and gas.

(Porras cited Rubio's oil and gas donations, but coal is also a fossil fuel. The Center of Responsive Politics found Rubio got $48,800 from the coal industry in 2016.)

Compiling Rubio's donations during the 2016 cycle is complicated because he ran in two elections — presidential and Senate. The Center for Responsive Politics provided PolitiFact with a more specific breakdown for his oil and gas donations:

• $339,194 to his presidential campaign

• $207,500 to outside groups that supported both his presidential and Senate runs

• $271,571 to his Senate campaign and leadership PAC

That adds up to $818,265. That's higher than the other totals shown for Rubio because it is the center's most up-to-date analysis.

So the dollar amount cited by Porras is valid, but while she referenced Rubio's "last Senate election" the amount she cited included some donations to his presidential campaign.

Another caveat: Porras said that the donations to Rubio were from "executives," but the donations could be broader than that. The donations reflect contributions from any individuals who list their employer as an oil and gas firm, as well as corporations and unions that donate from their treasuries.

However, the vast majority of money reported to the Federal Election Commission comes from executives, CEOs and PACs, said Sarah Bryner, research director at the Center for Responsive Politics.

We rate this claim Half True.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com/florida.

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