Oil industry execs caught fibbing; may lose tax break; still filthy rich

Last week, while testifying at a Senate hearing, oil industry executives were asked point blank: “Did your company or any representatives of your companies participate in Vice President Cheney’s energy task force in 2001?” The answers? Three No’s, an “I don’t know,” and a “not to my knowledge.” Turns out these were … what’s the word? … lies. A document released to The Washington Post shows that officials from at least four of the companies did in fact participate. The execs weren’t under oath, but by law, making “any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation” to Congress can get you a fine or up to five years in jail. To add to Big Oil’s woes, a Senate committee voted yesterday to rescind a tax break and change accounting rules for the industry, moves that could cost big oil companies up to $6 billion over the next few years. The measures were added to a larger tax-cutting bill that faces a tough road through the full Senate and the House.