An oil executive that supported Robert “Beto” O’Rourke’s 2018 U.S. Senate bid also helped produce a documentary of O’Rourke’s campaign.
The documentary “Running with Beto” debuted at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, Saturday. Lias “Jeff” Steen, executive vice president at Oil States International, is listed as an executive producer of the film, a role usually reserved for such projects’ financiers, The Washington Free Beacon reported Monday.
Steen is a backer of natural gas energy and donated $5,400 to O’Rourke’s campaign. The Texas Senate candidate’s campaign received another $476,325 from the oil industry alone, the second-largest amount given by the industry to a candidate during the 2018 cycle. Only Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, O’Rourke’s opponent, received more.
O’Rourke accepted the money even after taking a “no fossil fuel” pledge to keep oil money out of his campaign. He has since spoken favorably of the Green New Deal, a resolution originally pushed by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. The resolution calls for an eventual phase out of all fossil fuels. (RELATED: After Breaking ‘No Fossil Fuel’ Pledge, Beto Shows Support For Green Deal Concept)
“Carbon-based fuels rule the world, and that’s not going to change any time soon,” Steen said in a 2017 interview, according to the Free Beacon.
Steen’s involvement in O’Rourke’s documentary signals that the potential 2020 candidate is hesitant to cut his ties with the oil industry that bolstered his Senate run, even if he believes climate change is a serious threat within the next decade.
O’Rourke is reportedly working with and hiring more campaign staff in what appears to be preparation for a presidential run in 2020, according to NBC News. The failed Senate candidate has been drafting his core crew of campaigners quietly while polling as a top three candidate.
O’Rourke said 12 days ago that he had come to a decision about his political future, but is waiting to reveal his intentions in “the right way and tell everyone at the same time.”
“I’ve got to be on the timeline that works for my family and for the country and so that’s the timeline we’re on,” O’Rourke said, according to NBC.
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