A government watchdog group and several environmental organizations are calling on the Federal Election Commission to take enforcement action against Chevron for a $2.5 million campaign contribution they say violates federal law.
In October, San Ramon-based Chevron made a $2.5 million contribution to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC with ties to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
Chevron has more than 600 contracts with the federal government, and the contribution violated prohibitions against political donations by federal contractors, according to a complaint hand-delivered Tuesday to the FEC by Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth U.S., Greenpeace and Oil Change International.
"Chevron can make campaign contributions at the state and local level," said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. "But when they make a contribution to a federal party committee or a PAC political committee, that runs afoul of federal campaign finance law."
Judith Ingram, a press officer at the FEC, declined to comment on the complaint Tuesday.
The FEC is made up of six members, and by law no more than three commissioners can be members of the same political party. The structure is designed to encourage nonpartisan decisions, and at least four votes are required for any official action.
Super PACS, which are also known as "independent-expenditure-only committees," can raise funds from individuals, corporations, unions and other groups. They may not make contributions to political candidates, but can engage in unlimited political spending independently of the campaigns.
Public Citizen and the environmental groups say the FEC should also find the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC in violation of the law for taking the money, because the people running the group should have known the contributions were illegal.
Chevron did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Contact Dana Hull at 408-920-2706. Follow her at Twitter.com/danahull.