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Exxon Distances Itself From Planned Parenthood

After Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson became Donald Trump's leading pick for secretary of state, the company told BuzzFeed News that employees' donations to Planned Parenthood with company money should not be interpreted as an official endorsement.

Posted on December 12, 2016, at 2:18 p.m. ET

Reuters Photographer / Reuters

Tillerson in April 2015.

Exxon Mobil told BuzzFeed News Monday that while its employees donate to Planned Parenthood in part with company money, the company itself doesn't endorse the organization.

The statement comes amid reports that Exxon Mobil CEO and Chairman Rex Tillerson will be President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state. That resurfaced past pieces about the oil company funding Planned Parenthood — including one from Breitbart, led by Trump's campaign chairman and soon-to-be White House senior strategist Steve Bannon.

When contacted by BuzzFeed News about the claims, Exxon Mobil spokesperson Alan Jeffers said that while the company has a program allowing employees to donate to any cause they want to through matching and volunteer programs, it is their choice and does not reflect the company's involvement.

"ExxonMobil funding for Planned Parenthood organizations has been made through our employee/retiree matching gift and volunteer programs, which exist to support our employees and retirees in their personal philanthropic giving and community involvement," Jeffers wrote in an email.

"ExxonMobil’s giving through these programs is based entirely on employees' and retirees’ support for these organizations and does not reflect ExxonMobil’s philanthropic priorities or support for community causes," he added.

The claim that Exxon, and 36 other companies, "directly fund" Planned Parenthood comes from an organization called 2ndVote, which describes itself as the "conservative watchdog for corporate activism."

On its page rating Exxon Mobil's involvement with various conservative political issues, 2ndVote also points out the company's partnership with Population Services International, a women's health organization that in part helps women around the world gain access to contraception, medical abortion, and surgical abortion.

Exxon Mobil does have a partnership with PSI, but only through funding programs to prevent malaria. The programs it sponsors "ensure access to insecticide treated nets and basic health services which are so critical to saving lives," the website reads.

The oil giant also donated in 2014 to a mentorship organization called Girls Inc., whose Santa Fe branch supports abortion rights, 2ndVote said. The group provides education and research programs to benefit girls around the country.

Trump's team did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.