Warren Buffett holds deciding vote in oil lobbying battle

By Corbin Hiar | 05/02/2024 06:34 AM EDT

A shareholder proposal could push Occidental Petroleum to produce an annual report disclosing its lobbying policies, payments and recipients.

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett.

Berkshire Hathaway Chair and CEO Warren Buffett. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The oil and gas industry’s top spender on federal lobbying faces a crucial test Thursday of its opaque influence efforts.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett will likely determine the outcome.

Occidental Petroleum is urging investors to reject a shareholder proposal Thursday that calls on the company to provide more information to the public about the deluge of cash it sends to K Street. The company paid $33.6 million to influence U.S. policymakers between 2021 and last year — millions more than any other oil and gas company during the same period, according to an analysis of disclosure data by E&E News.


The lobbying transparency proposal is backed by a loose coalition of sustainable investment advocates, as well as the nation’s top shareholder advisory firms. But to gain a majority of support at Occidental’s annual shareholder meeting, the resolution will likely need the backing of Buffett, who effectively owns more than a third of the century-old Houston firm.