Energy Execs Pay to Create Environmental “To-Do” List with GOP Reps

Business execs from power, coal, and mining companies are powwowing with more than a dozen GOP lawmakers from Western states this week in Phoenix, Ariz., at a conference focused on energy and environmental issues that boasts, among other activities, a session during which attendees can draw up a “Top Ten To-Do List” for Congress for 2004. What has some enviros and ethics watchdogs particularly perturbed is that the conference was immediately preceded by “Mulligans and Margaritas” fundraiser that invited industry representatives to pay $1,500 a piece for a round of golf and a private dinner with those same members of Congress, including Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.). Organizers say the fundraiser and the conference are totally separate events, but the fact that they’re being hosted by the same people during the same week at the same swanky resort is enough to make some folks wonder if the whole deal doesn’t smell funny.