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  1. #1
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    Oil Criminal Cheney

    Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force

    By Dana Milbank and Justin Blum
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Wednesday, November 16, 2005; Page A01

    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.



    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. (By Chip Somodevilla -- Getty Images)


    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.

    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.

    The task force's activities attracted complaints from environmentalists, who said they were shut out of the task force discussions while corporate interests were present. The meetings were held in secret and the White House refused to release a list of participants. The task force was made up primarily of Cabinet-level officials. Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club unsuccessfully sued to obtain the records.

    Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who posed the question about the task force, said he will ask the Justice Department today to investigate. "The White House went to great lengths to keep these meetings secret, and now oil executives may be lying to Congress about their role in the Cheney task force," Lautenberg said.

    Lea Anne McBride, a spokeswoman for Cheney, declined to comment on the document. She said that the courts have upheld "the constitutional right of the president and vice president to obtain information in confidentiality."

    The executives were not under oath when they testified, so they are not vulnerable to charges of perjury; committee Democrats had protested the decision by Commerce Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) not to swear in the executives. But a person can be fined or imprisoned for up to five years for making "any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation" to Congress.

    Alan Huffman, who was a Conoco manager until the 2002 merger with Phillips, confirmed meeting with the task force staff. "We met in the Executive Office Building, if I remember correctly," he said.

    A spokesman for ConocoPhillips said the chief executive, James J. Mulva, had been unaware that Conoco officials met with task force staff when he testified at the hearing. The spokesman said that Mulva was chief executive of Phillips in 2001 before the merger and that nobody from Phillips met with the task force.

    Exxon spokesman Russ Roberts said the company stood by chief executive Lee R. Raymond's statement in the hearing. In a brief phone interview, former Exxon vice president James Rouse, the official named in the White House document, denied the meeting took place. "That must be inaccurate and I don't have any comment beyond that," said Rouse, now retired.

    Ronnie Chappell, a spokesman for BP, declined to comment on the task force meetings. Darci Sinclair, a spokeswoman for Shell, said she did not know whether Shell officials met with the task force, but they often meet members of the administration. Chevron said its executives did not meet with the task force but confirmed that it sent President Bush recommendations in a letter.

    The person familiar with the task force's work, who requested anonymity out of concern about retribution, said the document was based on records kept by the Secret Service of people admitted to the White House complex. This person said most meetings were with Andrew Lundquist, the task force's executive director, and Cheney aide Karen Y. Knutson.

    According to the White House document, Rouse met with task force staff members on Feb. 14, 2001. On March 21, they met with Archie Dunham, who was chairman of Conoco. On April 12, according to the document, task force staff members met with Conoco official Huffman and two officials from the U.S. Oil and Gas Association, Wayne Gibbens and Alby Modiano.

    On April 17, task force staff members met with Royal Dutch/Shell Group's chairman, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Shell Oil chairman Steven Miller and two others. On March 22, staff members met with BP regional president Bob Malone, chief economist Peter Davies and company employees Graham Barr and Deb Beaubien.

    Toward the end of the hearing, Lautenberg asked the five executives: "Did your company or any representatives of your companies participate in Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001?" When there was no response, Lautenberg added: "The meeting . . . "

    "No," said Raymond.

    "No," said Chevron Chairman David J. O'Reilly.

    "We did not, no," Mulva said.

    "To be honest, I don't know," said BP America chief executive Ross Pillari, who came to the job in August 2001. "I wasn't here then."

    "But your company was here," Lautenberg replied.

    "Yes," Pillari said.

    Shell Oil president John Hofmeister, who has held his job since earlier this year, answered last. "Not to my knowledge," he said.

    Research editor Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.


    Can anyone out there who supports this administration give logical reason why the vice president of our country who was in charge of a large energy company would let energy companies propose an energy bill? Now we know why the oil execs were excused from testifying under oath last week by Stevens (R) the committee chair. It is going to take some fancy footwork to
    dispute these documents.

  2. #2
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    Re: Oil Criminal Cheney

    I saw the article in today's paper too. They can still be prosecuted for providing false information even if they can't take a fall on perjury charges.

    Just one more hole in Bush credibility. Everyone already knew these people met.

  3. #3
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    Re: Oil Criminal Cheney

    Scalia-Cheney Trip Raises Eyebrows

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2003
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cheney (AP)




    Quote

    "At the very least, you have to start thinking about whether disqualification is necessary"
    Northwestern University Law professor Steven Lubet, to CBS News, Radio
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    (CBS) Vice President Dick Cheney and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spent part of last week duck hunting together at a private camp in southern Louisiana, just three weeks after the court agreed to take up the vice president's appeal in lawsuits over his handling of the administration's energy task force, the Los Angeles Times says in its Saturday editions.

    While Scalia and Cheney are avid hunters and longtime friends, several experts in legal ethics questioned the timing of their trip and said it raised doubts about Scalia's ability to judge the case impartially, the newspaper pointed out.

    But Scalia rejected that concern Friday, telling the Times, "I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned."

    Federal law says "any justice or judge shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might be questioned," the Times notes.

    For nearly three years, Cheney has been fighting demands that he reveal whether he met with energy industry officials, including Kenneth Lay when Lay was chairman of Enron, while Cheney was formulating the president's energy policy, the Times explains.

    A lower court ruled that Cheney must turn over documents detailing who met with his task force, but on Dec. 15, the high court announced it would hear his appeal. The justices are due to hear arguments in April in the case of "in re Richard B. Cheney."

    In a written response to an inquiry from the Times about the hunting trip, Scalia said: "Cheney was indeed among the party of about nine who hunted from the camp. Social contacts with high-level executive officials (including cabinet officers) have never been thought improper for judges who may have before them cases in which those people are involved in their official capacity, as opposed to their personal capacity. For example, Supreme Court Justices are regularly invited to dine at the White House, whether or not a suit seeking to compel or prevent certain presidential action is pending."

    Cheney does not face a personal penalty in the pending lawsuits. He could not be forced to pay damages, for example.

    But the suits "are not routine disputes about the powers of Cheney's office," the Times says. "Rather, the plaintiffs — the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch — contend that Cheney and his staff violated an open-government measure known as the Federal Advisory Committee Act by meeting behind closed doors with outside lobbyists for the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries."

    Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor, told the Times Scalia should have skipped going hunting with Cheney this year.

    "A judge may have a friendship with a lawyer, and that's fine. But if the lawyer has a case before the judge, they don't socialize until it's over. That shows a proper respect for maintaining the public's confidence in the integrity of the process," said Gillers, who is an expert on legal ethics. "I think Justice Scalia should have been cognizant of that and avoided contact with the vice president until this was over. And this is not like a dinner with 25 or 30 people. This is a hunting trip where you are together for a few days."

    The Times notes that pair arrived Jan. 5 on Gulfstream jets and were guests of Wallace Carline, the owner of Diamond Services Corp., an oil services company in Amelia, La. The Associated Press in Morgan City, La., reported the trip on the day the vice president and his entourage departed.

    "They asked us not to bring cameras out there," said Sheriff David Naquin, who serves St. Mary Parish, about 90 miles southwest of New Orleans, referring to the group's request for privacy. "The vice president and the justice were there for a relaxing trip, so we backed off."

    While the local police were told about Cheney's trip shortly before his arrival, they were told to keep it a secret, Naquin said to the Times.

    "The justice had been here several times before. I'm kind of sorry Cheney picked that week because it was a poor shooting week," Naquin said. "There weren't many ducks here, which is unusual for this time of the year."

    Scalia agreed with the sheriff's assessment.

    "The duck hunting was lousy. Our host said that in 35 years of duck hunting on this lease, he had never seen so few ducks," the justice said in his written response to the Times. "I did come back with a few ducks, which tasted swell."

    Steven Lubet, who teaches judicial ethics at Northwestern University Law School, said he was not convinced that Scalia must withdraw from the Cheney case but said the trip raised a number of questions.

    "At the very least, you have to start thinking about whether disqualification is necessary," Steven Lubet, who teaches judicial ethics at Northwestern University Law School told CBS News, Radio.

    "It's not clear this requires disqualification, but there are not separate rules for longtime friends," Lubet said to the Times. "This is not like a lawyer going on a fishing trip with a judge. A lawyer is one step removed. Cheney is the litigant in this case. The question is whether the justice's hunting partner did something wrong. And the whole purpose of these rules is to ensure the appearance of impartiality in regard to the litigants before the court."

    According to the newspaper, the code of conduct for federal judges sets guidelines for members of the judiciary, but it does not set clear-cut rules. A judge should "act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary," it says. "A judge should not allow family, social or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgments," it says. Nor should a judge "permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge."

    In the lower courts, litigants may ask a judge to step aside. And if the request is refused, they may appeal to a higher court.

    At the Supreme Court, the justices decide for themselves whether to step aside, the Times adds.

    ©MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    With the judge presiding over some of Cheneys issues, do you think they were just duck hunting or talking which way his issue may fall?

  4. #4
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    Re: Oil Criminal Cheney

    I think your last post raises a different issue, probably should have started a different thread.

  5. #5
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    Oil execs met Cheney task force

    I noticed we had both posted the same story in two different threads Tommy. So, I've merged the threads and deleted my original post.

    Namaste'

    Lady Mod

    .
    Last edited by sojustask; 11-17-2005 at 01:46 AM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Oil execs met Cheney task force

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    Oil execs met Cheney task force: WP

    Nov 16, 2005 — WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A White House document shows oil executives met with Vice President Dick Cheney's 2001 energy task force which critics say secretly formed energy policy favorable to the industry, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

    The document, obtained this week by the newspaper, shows that officials from four major oil companies met in the White House complex with Cheney aides who were formulating the Bush administration's energy policy, the report said.

    The newspaper said the document shows that officials from Exxon MobilCorp. , Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met with the Cheney aides.

    White House refused to divulge information about the task force.

    Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride declined to comment on the document but told the newspaper that the courts have upheld "the constitutional right of the president and vice president to obtain information in confidentiality."

    The Sierra Club environmental group and the watchdog group Judicial Watch sued unsuccessfully to find out the names and positions of the task force members and to learn about their contacts with industry executives.

    They claimed that Cheney, the former chief executive of energy and construction company Halliburton Co. , drafted a policy that favored the industry by consulting oil industry executives.

    The task force produced a policy paper calling for more oil and gas drilling and a revived nuclear power program.

    According to The Washington Post, a person familiar with the task force's work said the document obtained by the paper was based on records kept by the Secret Service. The source requested anonymity out of concern about retribution, the Post said.

    During a Senate hearing last week, chief executives of the major oil companies either denied that their firms participated in the task force or that they did not know, the newspaper said.

    .

    I have no clue as to what may or may have not gone on with the alleged task force but I do know that there are some folks making a lot of money from the high prices of petroleum products and the average hard working American is not included in that number. :(

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