DNC - The Truth about Obama and McCain on Energy

Washington, DC -- Today John McCain is continuing to campaign on an energy plan that won't actually help with energy costs and launching more false attacks against Barack Obama, attacks that have already been debunked. What McCain won't discuss is that his recent support for off-shore drilling, and his previous record of opposing renewable fuels and failing to crack down on excessive profits, may not help American families struggling with increased energy costs, but have benefited McCain's campaign, with thousands more in donations from big oil.

Gov. Schwarzenegger put it best: Anyone Who Tells You That Ending The Ban On Offshore Drilling Will Lower Gas Prices "Anytime Soon Is Blowing Smoke." "In a strong rebuke Thursday of lifting the ban on U.S. offshore oil drilling, California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger seemed to knock the standard-bearers of his party: President Bush and Arizona Sen. John McCain. Schwarzenegger, a long critic of his party of the environment, used surprisingly frank language to buck politicians who support lifting the 27-year-old ban of offshore drilling. He did not criticize anyone by name. 'Politicians have been throwing around all kinds of ideas in response to the skyrocketing energy prices, from the rethinking of nuclear power to pushing biofuels and more renewables and ending the ban on offshore drilling, it goes on and on the list,' Schwarzenegger said. … 'But, anyone who tells you this will lower our gas prices anytime soon is blowing smoke.'" [ABC News , 6/26/08]


Bush's Plan To Allow Drilling Offshore Would Take, According To Experts, At Least Seven And Probably 10 Years "Before Any Benefits Were Apparent."
"President Bush proposed Wednesday to allow drilling off U.S. coastlines as part of a plan to boost oil supplies, but his plan is likely to go nowhere because of a reluctant Democratic-majority Congress, which fears environmental costs. Even if U.S. coastal waters were opened to exploration, experts agree that it would take at least seven and probably 10 years before any benefits were apparent." [McClatchy, 6/18/08]

McCain Admitted His Offshore Drilling Proposal Would Have Mostly "Psychological" Benefits.
"Yesterday, McCain admitted that his offshore drilling proposal would probably have mostly 'psychological' benefits, NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy reports. At a town hall in Fresno that primarily focused on energy issues, McCain was asked a question about the price of gas and the viability of various short-term solutions. 'In the short term I'd like to give you a little relief for the summer on the gas tax,' McCain began, referring to his controversial proposal to temporarily suspend the federal tax on gasoline. But then he made a surprisingly candid admission: 'I don't see an immediate relief, but I do see that exploitation of existing reserves that may exist -- and in view of many experts that do exist off our coasts -- is also a way that we need to provide relief. Even though it may take some years, the fact that we are exploiting those reserves would have psychological impact that I think is beneficial.'" [MSNBC's First Read , 6/24/08]

McCain Adviser Holtz-Eakin Admitted That Increasing Domestic Oil Production Would Have No Immediate Impact On Gas Prices.
According to the Los Angeles Times, McCain's senior policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin told reporters on a conference call that, "allowing new offshore drilling would have no immediate impact on supplies or gas prices. But, he said, 'there is an important element in signaling to world oil markets that we are serious.'" [Los Angeles Times, 6/18/08]


Oil And Gas Industry Donated $1.1 Million To McCain In June; McCain Raised Majority Of Funds After Proposing To Lift Ban On Offshore Drilling.
According to the Washington Post, "Oil and gas industry executives and employees donated $1.1 million to McCain last month -- three-quarters of which came after his June 16 speech calling for an end to the ban -- compared with $116,000 in March, $283,000 in April and $208,000 in May… McCain delivered the speech before heading to Texas for a series of fundraisers with energy industry executives, and the day after the speech he raised $1.3 million at a private luncheon and reception at the San Antonio Country Club, according to local news accounts." [Washington Post, 7/27/2008]


McCain's Tax Plan Would Save Largest American Oil Companies Nearly $4 Billion.
According to the Center For American Progress, "The centerpiece of Sen. McCain's plan to stimulate the economy -- actually, the whole plan -- is large tax cuts for corporations. It would deliver $3.8 billion in tax cuts to the five largest American oil companies, according to an analysis released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund." According to the Center For American Progress' Analysis, Exxon/Mobil would save as much as $1.2 Billion under McCain's corporate tax cut. [Work Room, Thinkprogress.org, 3/27/2008]


McCain Said He Would Not Require Oil Companies To Use Their Profits To "Pursue Alternative Energy."
When asked in a republican primary debate if he would "require the oil industry to use its profits to help pursue alternative energy" McCain responded, "I would not require them to. But I think that public pressure and a lot of other things, including a national security requirement that we reduce and eliminate our dependence on foreign oil -- and we stop the contamination of our atmosphere, which is -- and climate change, which is real and is taking place." [GOP Primary Debate, 10/9/07]


Wayne Berman Serves As National Finance Committee Chair, Campaign Vice Chairman And As Senior Adviser To McCain's Campaign.
In March 2008, the McCain campaign announced that John Green "a founding partner of what is now Ogilvy Government Relations" would take a leave from lobbying to join the campaign full-time as its Capitol Hill liaison. John Green's colleague Wayne Berman, a Bush "Super Ranger" serves co-chairman of McCain's national finance committee, as well as the campaign's vice chairman and as a senior adviser. Additionally, Berman also handles congressional outreach and "talks to lawmakers on McCain's behalf." [New York Times, 2/7/08; Financial Times, 11/27/07; Washington Post, 11/20/07; The Hill, 7/19/07; The Politico, 3/4/08; John McCain Supporters, http://www.johnmccain.com/Supporters/ ]

While Green Will Be Stepping Down From Position At The Federalist Group, Berman Continues Lobbying For Clients, Despite His Roles With The McCain Campaign
. Despite his plethora of roles within the McCain campaign, Berman -- managing director of the all Republican Federalist Group -- continues to lobby lawmakers for his "impressive client list," which includes the American Petroleum Institute, Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, UnitedHealth, AT&T, Verizon, Viacom, Monsanto, and American International Group. [Federalist Group Lobbying Disclosure Records 2008 Year-End Reports; US News & World Reports, 5/28/07; The Hill, 3/8/06]

Berman And Green Lobbied For Chevron And Hess.
Berman and Green, working for Ogilvy Government Relations/Federalist Group, both lobbied for Chevron Texaco and Amerada Hess oil/gas companies, earning their lobbying firm over $1,000,000 for their efforts. Their lobbying pertained to: comprehensive energy legislation, the Alaska pipeline, oil and gas accounting, foreign tax credits, measures related to price gouging, offshore exploration, and the 2005 and 2007 energy bills. [Federalist Group Lobbying Disclosures 2002 - 2007, Senate Office of Public Records]
John Hess, CEO Of Amerada Hess Oil Company Raises Money For McCain. John Hess, the CEO of Amerada Hess (aka Hess Corp.) - a client of Berman & Green's -- fundraises for McCain's presidential campaign. According to a recently released list, Hess is classified as an "Innovator," meaning he has raised at least $100,000 for McCain's president effort. He also serves as a co-chairman of McCain's National Finance Committee. [Washington Post, "The Fix," 4/18/08; McCain Victory 2008 5/7 NYC Finance Reception, https://secure.donationreport.com/productlist.html?key=OTXXMNUV7ORW , accessed 5/1/08; "John B. Hess," Forbes.com, http://www.forbes.com/static/pvp2005/LIR7YAE.htm ]

Green And Berman Brought In Over $1 Million To Lobby For American Petroleum Institute, Gas And Oil Industry Trade Association. From mid-2002 until 2008, Green brought $1,430,000 to Ogilvy/Federalist Group to lobby for the American Petroleum Institute [API], the trade group representing the oil & companies. Berman, who began lobbying for API in 2004, brought in $1,100,000 from the oil trade group. [API/Federalist Group Lobbying Disclosures 2002 - 2008, Senate Office of Public Records]

Both Berman And Green Lobbied On Price Gouging Prevention Act. According to lobbying disclosure forms, both Berman and Green - on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute - lobbied on HR 1252, the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act. [API/Federalist Group Lobbying Disclosures 2002 - 2008, Senate Office of Public Records]

McCain Energy Advisor Eric Burgeson Simultaneously Lobbied For Energy Companies While Counseling Campaign. "Republican presidential contender John McCain on Thursday fired an energy policy advisor who lobbies the federal government on behalf of energy clients, citing a new policy that seeks to quash influence peddling. 'The campaign recently severed ties with Eric Burgeson due to a new campaign policy that prohibits any registered lobbyist from participating in any policy discussions on the subjects in which they work,' said McCain spokesman Jeff Sadosky…McCain's former energy advisor joined the firm of Barbour Griffith & Rogers in Washington in 2006 after serving as the chief of staff at the Department of Energy. Burgeson's energy clients include Southern Company, which operates electric utilities and nuclear-power plants in the Southeast…Last month, Burgeson answered questions from readers about energy and the environment at washington post.com." [Miami Herald, 5/16/08]

Burgeson Lobbying on Numerous Energy-Related Issues While Advising Campaign. While Burgeson was advising McCain on energy policy, he was lobbying for Breakthrough Fuels LLC, the Flambeau River Biorefinery, & Southern Company Services on a variety of energy related issues, including: fuel technology management; biorefinery & bioenergy issues; renewable energy legislation; deregulation; climate change; Environmental Protection Agency regulations; Warner-Lieberman climate change bill. [Burgeson/BGR Lobbying Disclosures, Senate Office of Public Records]

McCain's Hand-Picked RNC Chairman Lobbied For Offshore Drilling. For six years, Frank Donatelli - whom McCain appointed as Deputy Chairman of the RNC - lobbied on behalf of energy company Dominion Resources, earning his firm $380,000. According to lobbying disclosure, Donatelli lobbied on offshore drilling legislation, pipeline safety, energy reform legislation, and Yucca Mountain nuclear storage. Additionally, Donatelli also lobbied on issues regarding IRC (Internal Revenue Code) Section 29, which - having been "established by Congress through the Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Act of 1980" - provides for a tax credit "for producing fuel from a nonconventional source." [IRS Bulletin, 4/25/05; Donatelli/McGuireWoods Disclosures, Senate Office of Public Records]

McCain's Top Foreign Policy Advisor Lobbied For BP Amoco
. From 1999 until 2000, McCain's top foreign policy advisor Randy Scheunemann lobbied for BP Amoco, for which his firm was paid $120,000. Scheunemann lobbied on issues related to BP-Amoco's investments, as well as issues concerning international oil production. [Scheunemann/BP Amoco Lobbying Disclosures, Senate Office of Public Records]

McCain Staffer-Turned Lobbyists-Turned McCain Senate Chief Of Staff Mark Buse Lobbied For Exxon. In early 2008 McCain as his Senate chief of staff Mark Buse, who had served as McCain's staff director on the Commerce Committee "in the late 1990s and early 2000s," and who was until fall 2007 "a lobbyist for ML Strategies." From 2006 until 2007, Buse lobbied the federal government on behalf of Exxon Mobil, earning his firm $560,000 in lobbying fees from the oil giant. Buse lobbied on issues pertaining to renewable fuels, the energy savings act, climate stewardship act, climate change, cap & trade, and S.3711, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act. [ML Strategies/Exxon Lobbying Disclosures, Senate Office of Public Records; Washington Post, 2/22/08]

McCain Bundler Lobbied for Shell Oil; Raised Over $500,000 For McCain.
Jack Oliver, a prolific GOP fundraiser who has raised over $500,000 for McCain's president campaign, lobbied on behalf of Shell Oil Company until the end of 2007. Oliver lobbied on a number of issues, including exploratory and development issues, deepwater royalty relief, HR 3221, Clean Energy Act of 2007, and energy tax credits. [Jack Oliver/Shell Oil Lobbying Disclosures, Senate Office of Public Records; McCain Fundraiser List (http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/fundraisers.htm )]

GOP "Heavy Hitter" And McCain Fundraiser Richard Hohlt Lobbies for Chevron.
Richard Hohlt, a McCain bundler and low-profile Washington power broker/lobbyist so influential Newsweek dubbed him "the heavy-hitter you've never heard of," has lobbied on behalf of Chevron since 2006. Hohlt - who has received over $250,000 from Chevron for his lobbying services - has is currently lobbying on a number of issues including the Warner-Lieberman climate change bill and the Energy Independence & Tax Relief Act of 2008. Hohlt has raised between $250,000 and $500,000 for McCain's campaign. [Newsweek, 2/26/07; Hohlt/Chevron Lobbying Disclosures, Senate Office of Public Records; The Hill, 3/8/07; McCain Fundraiser List (http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/fundraisers.htm)]

Black Lobbied For Occidental Oil Co., Earning Over $1 Million. From 2001 until 2007, Black lobbied for Occidental Oil company, earning his firm over $1,610,000 for his lobbying efforts. The issues for which Black lobbied on behalf of Occidental include: Energy issues in developing nations and oil drilling in Russia. [BKSH Lobbying Disclosures, Senate Office of Public Records]

McCain's Campaign Received Over $5,000 From Occidental CEO And Wife.
McCain's presidential campaign has also received $5,600 from Occidental CEO Ray Irani and his wife. [McCain 2008 FEC Data]

BKSH Lobbied For Chinese Oil Conglomerate CNOOC.
According to lobbying disclosure reports for BKSH, McCain advisor and name partner Charlie Black lobbied for Chinese state-owned oil conglomerate CNOOC Ltd. BKSH "engaged in telephone calls and meetings dealing with legislation in Congress to prohibit foreign energy companies from acquiring U.S. based energy companies." BKSH lobbied for only a short period - from July 2005 until August 2005 - but was paid $60,000 for its efforts. [BKSH Supplemental Statement, 12/31/05; BKSH Amendment, 8/15/05; BKSH Amendment, 3/27/06]