WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- The Smithsonian Institution may delay a $5 million donation from the American Petroleum Institute for an oceans exhibit.
Roger W. Sant, chairmen of the regents’ executive committee, and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., expressed concern the donation may raise suspicions over the new exhibit, "Ocean Initiative," the Washington Post reported Saturday.
"I want to be sure that the sponsor’s behavior is consistent with the message we’re trying to deliver. It is a question mark given the record of oil spills in the past two decades," Sant said.
Oil executives argue the donation is an expression of interest in improving its image concerning its past.
"The gift is offered in the spirit of encouraging education," Karen Matusic, a spokeswoman for the petroleum institute said.
Ethical questions arose regarding the donation as Chief Justice John G. Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court is a member of the Board of Regents at the Smithsonian and Sant is the former chairman of the World Wildlife Fund.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear a case involving ExxonMobile this term.
A $5 million donation to the Smithsonian Institute by Saudi Arabia was rejected in 1985.