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Warren Buffett did not donate to Biden presidential campaign

January 28, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Warren Buffett donated $58 million to President Joe Biden’s campaign, so Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline as a favor to Buffett.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Warren Buffett did not donate to Biden’s presidential campaign, nor did he endorse him. Buffett previously has voiced public support for the Keystone XL pipeline.

THE FACTS: On Biden’s first day in office, he halted construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The 1,700-mile pipeline was planned to carry roughly 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast.

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Biden’s executive order revoking the permit for the project read, “Leaving the Keystone XL pipeline permit in place would not be consistent with my Administration’s economic and climate imperatives.”

A Facebook post that has been shared more than 60,000 times suggests Biden halted the pipeline not for environmental reasons, but as a favor to billionaire investor, Warren Buffett. But the post’s main thesis, that the Berkshire Hathaway CEO was a major donor to Biden’s campaign, is not true.

Warren Buffet owns the railroad that is now transporting all that oil. Warren Buffet donated 58 million to Biden campaign. Warren Buffet would lose billions in transport fees if the pipeline is completed. See how politics works? It is not an environmental issue, it is a money issue…” the Facebook post reads.

In fact, there is no record Buffett gave any money to Biden’s 2020 presidential bid, and Buffett’s assistant, Debbie Bosanek, confirmed to The Associated Press that he did not.

Federal Election Commission records show that Buffett made no individual contributions in 2020. In 2019, he gave $248,500 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which supports Democratic House candidates, and $5,800 to Democratic Arizona Senator Mark Kelly’s campaign. In 2018, he gave $33,900 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $33,900 to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, and $2,700 each to the campaigns of Democrats Donna Shalala and Rufus Gifford.

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Bosanek told the AP that the 90-year-old billionaire did not make other donations through a political action committee in the 2020 campaign cycle. Nor did Buffett campaign in favor of the current president.

“Mr. Buffett did not endorse Mr. Biden, but both he and his wife voted for Mr. Biden,” Bosanek told the AP in an email.

It is true that Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns BNSF Railway, a freight railroad network that transports crude oil. While analysts over the years have suggested that the Keystone XL pipeline would take business from BNSF, Buffett voiced his support for the project in a CNBC television appearance in 2014.

“It’s not that big of a competitor,” Buffett said at the time. “I think probably the Keystone pipeline is a good idea for the country.”

Bosanek told the AP that Buffett had not offered any opinions about the project more recently that he can remember, nor did he have a stance on how it would impact his business.

“Mr. Buffett has never seen any report by BNSF projecting whether the Keystone Pipeline would increase or decrease the revenue of the railroad,” Bosanek wrote.

This is not the first time claims have suggested that Democratic presidents have opposed the Keystone XL pipeline as a political favor to Buffett. The same theory circulated during the Obama administration.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536