Earlier this month, Senator Chuck Schumer used the filibuster to scuttle legislation that would have demanded President Biden impose sanctions on the companies involved with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The Russian pipeline is not yet operational but poses a major geopolitical threat as Vladimir Putin seeks more control over Europe’s energy supply while bypassing Ukraine, robbing them of much-needed income.
Today, a new report from the Washington Free Beacon is shedding light on contributions that Schumer accepted from companies linked to Nord Stream 2:
“ENGIE North America and BASF Corporation each gave $2,500 to Schumer in September through their corporate political action committees, according to newly disclosed Federal Election Commission records. ENGIE North America’s parent company and a BASF subsidiary are part of a consortium of five companies that finance Nord Stream 2, which will transport natural gas from Russia to Germany. While President Joe Biden has called the pipeline a geopolitical threat to Europe that helps Russian president Vladimir Putin, last year he waived sanctions on the project.
The contributions to Schumer came amid an aggressive lobbying effort in Washington over sanctions on the 764-mile pipeline. The five European companies that back Nord Stream 2—Wintershall, ENGIE, Uniper, Shell, and OMV—have paid millions of dollars to lobbying firms to block sanctions.
Nord Stream 2 AG, the Swiss company that is building the pipeline, lobbies Congress through Democratic donor Vincent Roberti. Roberti gave maximum donations of $5,800 to Schumer and other Senate Democrats last year, Axios reported. Thomas McLarty, the founder of McLarty Inbound, a firm that lobbies for the five European companies, in April gave $2,500 to Schumer.
ENGIE North America, a subsidiary of the French firm ENGIE, contributed to Schumer’s campaign on Sept. 9. BASF, the parent company of Wintershall, donated to Schumer on Sept. 22. ENGIE also contributed to Schumer’s campaign in 2020, while BASF gave to the Senate leader in 2016, according to FEC records. Each member of the European consortium loaned 1 billion euros to Nord Stream 2 AG in 2017. Nord Stream 2 AG is controlled by Russian state oil company Gazprom. Nord Stream 2 AG’s chief executive officer, Matthias Warnig, is a Putin ally and former officer of the East German secret police.”
Giving Putin a free pass to increase influence in Europe is bad enough. Doing so after receiving campaign cash from the pipeline’s companies and lobbyists demands an immediate explanation.
Statement from NRSC Spokesman T.W. Arrighi: “Vladimir Putin never had it so easy. As he continues to play a dangerous game in eastern Europe, he is making tremendous strides in Europe thanks to a wave of lobbying and campaign contributions. One willing recipient was none other than Chuck Schumer who filibustered the bipartisan effort to oppose the pipeline. Apparently, Russian-linked cash can still get you pretty far in Congress.”