THE U.S.-BASED Gulf Oil Corporation, formed in 1907, was the subject of major scandals about illegal campaign donations in 1973, and payoffs to foreign government officials in 1976. These revelations, and similar revelations about other major U.S. corporations, prompted public outcries about corporate behavior that led to the 1974 amendments of the Federal Election Campaign Act and the passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 1977.

The origins of Gulf can be traced to the J.M. Guffey Petroleum Company established in 1901 to develop the Spindletop Oilfield in Texas. The founders of the company created the Gulf Refining Company to refine and market oil from Spindletop. In 1907, the two companies merged to form Gulf with noted capitalist Andrew W. Mellon as president.

For two decades, ...

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