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Corporate Doublespeak from Oil Execs as Execs Deny Misleading Congress

by Pamela Leavey

Senator Frank Lautenberg is NOT happy with some responses released today from the big five oil execs, to questions from Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman. It seems that “Five oil industry executives acknowledged frequent company contacts with government officials to discuss energy issues but insisted they had responded truthfully at a recent Senate hearing when they denied participating in Vice President Dick Cheney’s 2001 energy task force.”

“Lautenberg called the executives’ clarifications “corporate doublespeak that only further demonstrates the need for a criminal investigation” of their Nov. 9 testimony. He said he planned to discuss the issue further with Justice Department officials on Thursday.”

The exchange at the Nov. 9 hearing prompted accusations by some Democratic senators that several of the executives may have knowingly misled Congress. A report published a few days later found that White House logs showed representatives of some of the companies had visited energy task force officials.

New Mexico Sens. Pete Domenici, chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Jeff Bingaman, its ranking Democrat, asked the executives to clarify any discrepancies.

The senators released the executives’ written responses on Wednesday.

John Hofmeister, chairman of Shell Oil Co., said Shell representatives did not meet with the task force but added, “Shell representatives did meet with the administration — including the vice president and his staff — on a broad range of energy policy issues.”

Exxon Mobil Corp. said its chairman, Lee Raymond, responded accurately when he said no one at the company participated in a task force meeting — as the question was phrased by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

In its letter, however, Exxon Mobil confirmed that company officials met with a Bush administration official for 45 minutes on Feb. 14, 2001, to discuss the “global energy supply and demand situation.” On the same day, the company said, the same information was given to members of Congress and others. The Cheney task force issued its report on energy priorities in May 2001.

Last week Frank Lautenberg said, “Republicans are trying to split legal hairs to protect Big Oil. The American people understand what ‘participate’ means. What they don’t understand is why the Republicans are still trying to cover up for these Big Oil companies.”

Lautenberg’s report: GOP Effort to Sheild Oil CEOs Is Wrong on Facts, Wrong on Law, can be found here.

UPDATE: More on this from the WaPo.

3 Responses to “Corporate Doublespeak from Oil Execs as Execs Deny Misleading Congress”

  1. why pick on kos, for chrissake? let’s face it — kerry ran a crappy campaign. i don’t see why kos is bothering to attack him, because it’s pointless– kerry is irrelevent. but it’s even more pointless for you to attack kos.

  2. Kerry came extremely close considering that he was running against an incumbent in war time, and he certainly did not run a crappy campaign.

    Since the election Kerry is working to build a European style opposition to the Republicans in the hopes of getting the Democrats back in power. Kos is working to undermine ths. Kos is also helping promote the Bush Administration arguments on Iraq with his claims that Kerry supported the war. Kos’s dishonesty also undermines the distinction between us and them as we crticize the propaganda methods of the Bush Administration.

    Bottom line is that Kos’s actions help the Republicans remain in power to the degree he has any influcence (which fortunatley is limited) and therefore criticizing his actions is not pointless.

  3. Drindl

    Kerry is far from irrelevant. He’s very newsworthy for a mulitude of reasons including that he is the former nominee, who garnered more votes than any Dem nominee in history; there are many who believe he actually did win; his work in the Senate in the past year has resulted in bills and amendments that have been passed; he’s raised money for democratic candidates for the 05 and 06 races, endorsed and helped to elect 05 candidates and he was the FIRST democratic Senator to come forward with a plan for Iraq.

    I hardly call that irrelevant. Kos serves no purpose in attacking Kerry on the contrary he hurts the democratic party and he causes further dissention among the many supporters of Kerry.

    My personal feeling is one does not have implicitly support Kerry to acknowledge that he has done a lot for democrats in the past year, let alone done a lot for this country in the past 30 years.

    Yesterday’s post from Kos was based on conjecture – not facts. Anyone who watched yesterday’s press conference could clearly see that Reed was thrilled to be there with Kerry. They are friends and there is deep mutual respect between them. That post was insulting not only to Kerry but also to Jack Reed. The press conference was scheduled by Kerry’s office the day before.