The word is out that U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham met only with energy industry executives and no environmental or consumer groups as he helped to write the Bush administration’s energy policy last year. But only now is the extent of that exclusive access becoming clear. On Monday night, after a court-ordered release of 11,000 pages of documents relating to the drafting of the energy policy, the Department of Energy announced that Abraham met with 36 industry representatives — a figure that was picked up in most press accounts. But the secretary actually met with 109 industry representatives from late January to May 17, 2001, when the energy policy was unveiled, reports the New York Times. Eighteen of the individuals or groups that met with Abraham contributed a total of $16.6 million to the GOP Party since 1999, nearly three times what they gave to the Dems, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. A coalition of enviro groups asked to meet with Abraham in February 2001, but DOE officials turned down the request, citing Abraham’s “busy schedule.” White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer’s response to all this: “News flash: No surprise to anybody, the secretary of energy meets with energy-related groups.”

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