Oil execs and lying to Congress
Well goodness, there’s lots of news afoot today. Unfortunately, this blogger is a) only working half-time, and b) deathly ill, recalling fondly when breathing through the nose was an option. So I doubt I’ll get to all of it.
But let’s start with the oil-exec/energy-task-force mini-scandal.
The revelation here is not that Cheney’s task force included oil execs — did anyone ever doubt that? — or that Bush administration energy policy is grossly skewed in favor of fossil fuels. The proof is in the pudding on that score.
The notable things here are three:
1. As Adam wisely notes: Why would they lie? It wasn’t illegal to meet with Cheney’s task force, or even improper — they were invited, after all. Cheney has battled for the executive branch’s right not to reveal who was there, but there’s no reason the participants themselves can’t reveal they were there. Why lie about it? Unless, of course, you feel guilty. Unless you feel like you rigged national energy policy in your favor, and don’t want the nation to find out about it.
2. As both Sam and Matt wonder, why is lying to Congress such a casual thing these days? It used to be kind of a big deal. Now oil execs apparently think nothing of it. It’s unlikely this will even rise above the current din of scandal.
3. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) made a point of not swearing in the executives (although it’s still a crime to lie to Congress, under 18 USC 1001). Did he know beforehand they were planning on lying about this? His stated rationale — not embarrassing them — is pretty flimsy.
Apparently Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) — into whose face the execs lied — aren’t going to let this die quietly:
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) will lead Senate Democrats TODAY in demanding that oil company executives return to Congress and testify under oath in light of ongoing concerns of gas price-gouging by oil companies at the expense of hard-working American families. They will also call on the Justice Department to investigate into the alleged false statements made at a joint Senate Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing last week.
(See also this post from Carl Pope, about his surreal Potemkin visit to the White House in 2001.)