Advocacy and Public Policy

Advocacy and Public Policy

Advocacy and Public Policy

Tesoro operates in a highly regulated and often politicized environment. As policymakers consider issues related to the energy sector, we believe it is our responsibility as an industry leader to advocate for sound energy policies and actively engage in the political process to ensure we continue to operate in a healthy business environment.

Our External Policy Committee provides guidance and direction to our Policy and Government Affairs teams in their development of policy positions and implementation of our policy and advocacy plans. The External Policy Committee is comprised of key executives including: Chief Executive Officer; Executive Vice President, Operations; Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary; Executive Vice President, Commercial and Value Chain; Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer; Vice President, Corporate Affairs; Vice President, Federal Government Affairs; and Vice President, State Government & Public Affairs. Specifically, our Policy and Government Affairs teams:

  • Identify and prioritize legislative and regulatory initiatives likely to have a significant impact on our business;
  • Establish our positions on these initiatives; and
  • Engage with policymakers to communicate our positions.

Tesoro formulates our policy positions in a manner consistent with our  Public Policy Principles, and in part, based on the principle of Shared Value, which considers viewpoints that are good for the environment, the community and our business. Priority policy areas for Tesoro currently include refinery safety, fuel standards, environmental issues, tax, and energy infrastructure.

Tesoro Policy Principles Icon Bar

Our Board of Directors receives updates on significant public policy and the Governance Committee of our Board of Directors receives regular updates on the Company’s political spending activities. The Board of Directors and our Chief Executive Officer have delegated regular oversight of our public policy and political spending policies, protocols and activities to our Vice President, Corporate Affairs, in consultation with the Vice President, Federal Government Affairs for federal political spending activities.

Our PAC and corporate political contributions policies require that political spending activities are overseen by the Vice President of Corporate Affairs. Political contributions are made consistent with our Public Policy Principles and to promote the interests of the Company, independent of the private political preferences of our executives or management. We maintain strict limits of authority with regard to political contributions. Political contributions to individual candidates, and to entities other than candidates, must be approved by the Vice President, Corporate Affairs. Corporate political contributions to individual candidates over $25,000, and contributions over $100,000 to entities other than candidates, must be approved by the Chief Executive Officer, General Counsel, and the Governance Committee of our Board of Directors.

Memberships in industry trade associations that are involved in political activity must be approved by the Vice President, Corporate Affairs, in consultation with the Vice President, Federal Government Affairs for federal level associations. Our Chief Executive Officer and the Governance Committee of our Board of Directors are informed of significant memberships in such organizations.

Political Contributions
As part of our approach to engaging in the political process, we make corporate political contributions to individual candidates, committees, campaigns and organizations, while complying with all applicable federal, state and local contribution and reporting requirements. We also engage in the political process through our federal political action committee (PAC), and our Tesoro Alaska PAC which are voluntarily funded by eligible employees. In 2016, Tesoro made a total of $1,917,548 in corporate political contributions and our voluntary employee PAC contributed $275,050. See the linked tables for details of these contributions.

View past year contribution tables: 2015

In 2016, we made one independent expenditure in California. We contributed $1,500,000 to the Coalition to Restore California’s Middle Class, a bipartisan state-level independent expenditure committee providing support to candidates who promote jobs and economic growth in California.

Business & Industry Trade Associations, Issue Advocacy and Grassroots Communications
Tesoro actively participates in business & industry trade associations and social welfare organizations at the national, regional, state and local levels. Our participation includes technical and industry standard-setting, as well as advocacy on issues important to our company, industry and stakeholders. A portion of our non-tax exempt dues to certain associations and organizations may be used for the purposes of lobbying or political expenditures. Provided below is a list of our business & industry trade association memberships, and social welfare organization contributions, wherein organizations reported to us that a portion of our dues were considered non-tax exempt under Section 162(e) of the IRS, and wherein the non-tax exempt portion exceeded $50,000.  The list includes total dues and all other related fees made as payments to these organizations as well as the amounts considered non-tax exempt as reported to Tesoro by the associations themselves, which includes 501(c)4 and 501(c)6 organizations.

The non-tax exempt portion of the dues and fees paid to the business & trade associations or social welfare organizations listed above constitutes the vast majority of our involvement in indirect lobbying and grassroots communications. We contribute to various organizations such as local Chambers of Commerce and Rotaries whose primary purpose is not lobbying or other political activity.

We work to keep employees and stakeholders informed about public policy through our website, The site provides information on current industry issues and facilitates outreach to elected representatives.