$3 million in Chevron’s Moving Forward war chest

Chevron has funneled $3 million into a trio of campaign committees to influence the Nov. 4 Richmond city election, including a nearly $1.3 million contribution on Aug. 8, according to newly-filed campaign documents.

The committees, each a variation of Chevron’s “Moving Forward” campaign, spent about $1.3 million on the Richmond mayoral and city council races as of the end of September, much of it on attack ads targeting local officials who are critical of Chevron’s massive local refinery.

Chevron’s independent campaign contributions, which are unlimited under federal law, have come in two installments. In March, a Moving Forward committee received $1.6 million from Chevron, with $1,296,700 coming Aug. 8.

Copy of Moving Forward flow chart spending

Chevron created the original Moving Forward committee in 2012 as part of a new strategy to advance its political interests in Richmond. Its full name is: “Moving Forward, a coalition of labor unions, small businesses, public safety and firefighters associations. Major funding by Chevron.”

Moving Forward representatives listed on the campaign finance documents did not respond to calls seeking comment.

In 2014 Chevron created two new committees. “Moving Forward with Nat Bates for Mayor, and Donna Powers, Charles Ramsey, and Al Martinez for City Council 2014, with major funding by Moving Forward, a coalition of labor unions, small businesses, public safety and firefighters associations. Major funding by Chevron.” It has received $1.4 million.

The other new committee, “Moving Forward, opposing Gayle McLaughlin, Eduardo Martinez, and Jovanka Beckles for City Council 2014, with major funding by Moving Forward, a coalition of labor unions, small businesses, public safety and firefighters associations. Major funding by Chevron,” has received $500,000.

The two newer committees spent about $1.3 million between Aug. 15 and Sept. 29 supporting one mayoral candidate and three city council candidates, and opposing three city council candidates. The $1.3 million figure is sure to grow quickly now that Moving Forward is running TV ads, expenditures for which have not yet been reported to the Richmond City Clerk.

Since Jan. 1, “Moving Forward, a coalition…” has received $2,933,363.90 in contributions from Chevron. Moving Forward has also received $5,000 each from the Richmond Police Officers Association PAC and the Independent PAC Local 188 International Association of Firefighters.




Some observers think Chevron’s involvement in the Richmond election overwhelms the voices of regular Richmond citizens by bombarding them with shiny mailers, billboards and television attack ads.

“You have a pretty big red flag when you have a multi-million-dollar corporation getting involved in a local election,” said Sarah Swanbeck a campaign finance transparency advocate with California Common Cause. “The average Richmond citizen is not equipped or able to fight back with their own resources.”


  1. Karen Franklin

    Thanks for continuing this outstanding investigative journalism. Richmond Confidential sure fills a void in local news reporting.

    Karen Franklin
    Panhandle Annex Neighborhood Council

  2. michael

    I agree! Richmond Confidential has really hit its stride. Great reporting and great work! Many thanks to the folks at the UC Berkeley School of journalism – you’re giving good journalism a future again.

  3. Daniel

    I’m not sure regurgitating publicly filed information qualifies as investigative journalism, but thanks to Richmond Confidential for making it just a little more accessible for the community.

  4. raysloan

    I believe Chevron’s money will back fire!

  5. Wow. A ENTIRE CITY purchased by some greedy company, just to pollute and to sicken it’s citizenry in the name of the almighty dollar……it is INCONCIEVEABLE that the people of Richmond wouldn’t get out AND VOTE AGAINST SOMETHING SO VILE AND HEINOUS as Chevron’s attempt to do this……so, one word of advice—if you want to see justice done, VOTE—otherwise, you will CONTINUE to find yourself at the hospitals, sick children, and WITHOUT recourse to take them on in court!!!!

    And, this is what reporting SHOULD look like—unbiased and reporting the news regardless of what the subject tries to do to silence the story!!!

  6. Atony Alan

    So, where are all the sick people in Long Beach, Martinez, Crockett and Benicia?

    They all have refineries too.

  7. Tara Cobo

    I live in San Pedro Can where I am surrounded by refineries. I have used their product a lot since my job is as a taxicab driver. I have to wash my cab daily to get all the black dirt off the cab. Its disgusting when you think of all that stuff in your lungs. Of course we are sickened by the refineries toxic smoke they put in the air daily. It hurts my eyes to look at the smog when I get back to the LA Basin from a journey out of town. It is an ugly sight! A sailor once told me he always knew he was getting close to LA when he could see a brown cloud over the ocean. He could see the smog before he could see land! Around 8 years ago my husband and I were driving to Mammoth Mtn. Shortly after passing through Mojave an expensive car flew past us on the highway doing at least 100 (I was going 80) on the rear of the car was a sign that said that the car was fueled by sunshine. I want that car! I’m sure you do too. I wonder why we haven’t seen cars like that for sale…

  8. Nick Volkow

    The City of Burnaby is the host community for a Chevron refinery, one of only two refineries left in the province of British Columbia. While Chevron has not been a political participant, as far as I know, in our town, your readers may be interested in our City’s struggle with Houston based Kinder/Morgan. Google Burnaby Kinder/Morgan. Thanks for your work, there may be hope for journalism yet.

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