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    BP to Halt Political Donations

    Collapse of Enron plays part in oil company's decision.

    LONDON -- BP Plc said it would no longer make political donations anywhere in the world, acknowledging that the relationship between corporations and government is under unprecedented scrutiny.

    In a speech in London, BP's chief executive, Sir John Browne, said the oil giant and other companies should keep their distance from the political process. "BP will make no political contributions from corporate funds anywhere in the world," he said. "We'll engage in the policy debate, stating our views and encouraging the development of ideas -- but we won't fund any political activity or any political party."

    The collapse of Houston-based Enron, and revelations of large donations to the country's politicians, has focused attention on links between politics and industry, the Associated Press reported.

    A company spokeswoman told the Associated Press the policy, born out of "a desire to be transparent and consistent," would take effect April 1. BP donated $850,000 last year to various "federal and state specific political causes" in the United States, the source said. The money was split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

    BP is not the first company to adopt this policy. The Royal Dutch/Shell Group said it had a long-standing policy of not contributing to political parties, political organizations or their representatives.

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