Oakley Lambasts Payne for Accepting Money From Fossil Fuel, Pharmaceutical PACs

Imani Oakley

Oakley Lambasts Payne for Accepting Money From Fossil Fuel, Pharmaceutical PACs

Montclair, NJ — Imani Oakley, pro-democracy activist and candidate for Congress in NJ’s 10th
Congressional District, publicly knocked her opponent for continuing to accept large donations from the fossil fuel and pharmaceutical lobbies.

“We are simultaneously in a pandemic and one of the hottest summers on record,” she said. “Both the pharmaceutical and fossil fuel industry bear responsibility for the difficulties our working class communities face — whether its difficulty accessing care due to runaway prescription costs or difficulty breathing due to runaway pollution. For Rep. Payne to still be in bed with these interests is not just tone-deaf: it shows that he’s out of touch.”

Payne Jr. — a five term incumbent with one of the highest voting absentee rates of any representative — recently published his Q2 fundraising numbers. His reporting shows that nearly 70 percent came from corporate PACs, including controversial groups such as the Association of Oil Pipelines PAC, ExxonMobil PAC, and Merck PAC.

The Association of Oil Pipelines (AOPL) — long a defender of toxic pipeline projects — made news two years ago when the Intercept revealed that AOPL succeeded in getting representatives to sneak a provision harshly criminalizing anti-pipeline protests into a industry safety bill. The provision — written by AOPL itself — would have made “interfering with pipeline operations” punishable with up to 20 years in prison.

“For AOPL and Rep. Payne, it is not enough to pollute our communities,” Oakley said. “They also demand that we criminalize them too.”

Imani Oakley is a long time political organizer and pro-democracy activist running for Congress in New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District. The seat — NJ’s only Black majority district –  covers parts of Essex, Union, and Hudson counties. Her time working in New Jersey political spaces has made one thing clear: our state suffers from rabid corruption. Her campaign is dedicated to ending this system and lifting up working class communities.

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