Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Oh, You Mean THAT Dick Cheney

You have to feel a little sorry for big oil executives. Here they are, trying to figure out ways to spend all that money (What do you say to buying Ecuador?) when they get hauled up in front of Congress and asked if they're gouging the American public. (No more than you Senator) If Congress isn't careful, big oil will just use the money to buy both houses and...oh wait.

It was very nice of Congress not to ask them to swear in so they wouldn't have to, you know, worry about telling the truth. Not to imply that they would lie or anything like that. "The energy industry is an honest, law abiding and above board industry," said Senator Ted Stevens. "Where do you think these guys work, Enron or something?

The chief executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips said their firms did not participate in Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001. A White House document shows that executives from big oil companies did meet with the task force.


The president of Shell Oil said his company did not participate "to my knowledge. And just so you know, I drink quite a bit, so there's a lot I don't remember."

The chief of BP America Inc. said he did not know. "I'm on drugs," he added.

Chevron was not named in the White House document, but the Government Accountability Office found that Chevron was one of several companies that "gave detailed energy policy recommendations" to the task force. "That's not the same thing as being there," said Chevron Chairman David J. O'Reilly. "I heard they had pizza and subs for lunch paid for with tax dollars. We never got any of that."

Vice President Cheney had a separate meeting with John Browne, BP's chief executive. "Yeah, but we didn't talk about energy policy," Browne countered. "We were watching porn or something. I don't quite remember."

Lea Anne McBride, a spokeswoman for Cheney, declined to comment. "But if I were going to comment," she said, "I'd tell you no meeting took place and the Vice President wouldn't know these people if he passed them on the street."

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.

"The man's obviously delusional," commented McBride. "Oh, look over there, a missing white woman! And she's a survivor of 9/11!"

Exxon spokesman Russ Roberts said the company stood by chief executive Lee R. Raymond's statement in the hearing. "Oh, yeah, like I'm going to call Raymond a liar. Do you know how big my mortgage is?"

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. "All task forces look alike to me," she said.

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. "We're going to have to explain to those boys why the word 'Secret' is in their name," said McBride.

Senator 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: "Raise your hand if you don't speak English. All five raised their hands.

No comments: