Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force

This is from the Washington Post:

A White House document shows that executives from big oil companies met with Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 -- something long suspected by environmentalists but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress.

The document, obtained this week by The Washington Post, shows that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy, parts of which became law and parts of which are still being debated.

In a joint hearing last week of the Senate Energy and Commerce committees, the chief executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips said their firms did not participate in the 2001 task force. The president of Shell Oil said his company did not participate "to my knowledge," and the chief of BP America Inc. said he did not know.

(Testifying at a Senate hearing last week were, from left, Lee R. Raymond of Exxon Mobil, David J. O'Reilly of Chevron, James J. Mulva of ConocoPhillips, Ross Pillari of BP America and John Hofmeister of Shell Oil. From Chip Somodevilla at Getty Images.)

Chevron was not named in the White House document, but the Government Accountability Office has found that Chevron was one of several companies that "gave detailed energy policy recommendations" to the task force. In addition, Cheney had a separate meeting with John Browne, BP's chief executive, according to a person familiar with the task force's work; that meeting is not noted in the document.

No wonder Commerce Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) refused to swear in the oil executives as the Democrats demanded.

This was a complete sham and cover-up by the Republicans. We knew that Cheney's energy task force was talking to officials from the big oil and energy companies, while at the same time Cheney was refusing to even meet with environmentalists. Why else would Cheney keep the records of who the energy task force met with classified? Now with the American public starting to get worried about increasing energy costs and increasing gas prices, while at the same time big oil companies are making record huge profits, is it no wonder that rumors of big oil companies are price gouging the American consumers, are starting to resurface? Finally, with the American public starting to believe the Democrats can govern this country better than the Republicans, is it no wonder that the Republicans in Congress are scared that they will be trounced in the 2006 midterm elections? Also remember that President Bush's poll numbers have also been dropping steadily.

So what do the Senate Republicans do? They announce these Senate hearings to supposedly rake the Big Oil execs over the coals for their excessive profits and their supposedly price gouging practices. Only the Senate Republicans know they can't force these executives to testify under oath, for questions will certainly come up regarding Cheney's energy task force meetings. Big Oil was certainly involved with the energy task force--it's no big secret, considering the task force recommended tax breaks and subsidized goodies for Big Oil and energy companies. So Ted Stevens quashes the Democrats demands for the executives to testify under oath, and Big Oil execs start lying through their teeth. But there's just one small problem. Some records have surfaced which not only show Big Oil lying to Congress, but also makes Stevens look like a complete fool who's in the pocket of Big Oil (Of which Stevens' probably is, coming from Alaska which has extensive oil interests). This is another example of the complete and utter corruption that has taken over the Republican Party, who will protect whatever corporate or business interests the can--regardless of how far they will destroy this country.

It is time for the Democrats to start looking into the ethics of Ted Stevens, and demand an investigation into Big Oil's connections with the Republicans. And the only way to do that is to win the Senate in 2006.


Polly said...

think there will be a criminal investigation on this?

Eric A Hopp said...

Polly: That really depends on whether the Democrats can gain control of Congress in 2006. The 2006 midterm elections are the key. Right now, both the Senate and House are controlled by the Republican Party--which also controls what legislation will go through the houses, and the party also controls the committee chairmanships. If the Democrats can regain control of just one of the two houses from the Republicans, then not only do they control the legislation going through that house, but they also control the committees. The Democrats can then start their own Congressional investigations on just about every scandal coming out of the Republican-controlled Congress and White House. The Democrats can start investigations in the intelligence failures and the White House manipulation of intelligence to support their war in Iraq. The Democrats can also investigate Cheney's energy task force, and the related Big Oil lying to the Senate hearings. They can investigate Republican corruption, Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Bill Frist, the list goes on. The key here is if the Democrats can gain control of Congress, or even simply one of the houses of Congress.