"What's black and white and read all over?"

Thursday, November 17, 2005
Posted 7:28 PM by

Paper tiger in your tank and Congress

The heads of five major oil companies appear on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005, to discuss energy pricing and profits before a joint hearing of the Senate Commerce and Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Left to right are Lee Raymond for Exxon Mobil, David O'Reilly of Chevron, James Mulva of Conoco Phillips, Ross Pillari of BP America and John Hofmeister of Shell. The chiefs of five major oil companies defended the industry's huge profits Wednesday at a Senate hearing where they were exhorted to explain prices and assure customers they're not being gouged. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)It's taken four years, two hurricanes and gas rising to nearly $3.50 a gallon, but finally somebody in Congress has asked about the elephant in Dick Cheney's closet - the oil industry.

While Cheney has been barnstorming across the country re-writing the administration's historical lie for invading Iraq and accusing others of beating him to the punch, Senators Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., have started asking questions about the energy task force Cheney set up in 2001.

You know, the secret little cabal that "helped" to write the Bush administration's energy policy.

The White House has refused to disclose contacts with industry representatives concerning the task force deliberations.

When asked during a Senate hearing on oil industry profits last week by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., whether any of the companies' representatives had participated in the task force, four of the executives said they did not and the fifth said he did not know.

The Washington Post, citing White House documents, reported Wednesday that representatives from four of the companies had visited the White House complex and met with Cheney task force officials in early 2001.

Lautenberg has asked the Justice Department to investigate whether the executives might be guilty of giving false statements to Congress.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and five other Democrats asked Domenici to recall the executives and require them this time to testify under oath.

The oil executives who testified last week were Lee Raymond, chairman of ExxonMobil Corp.; David O'Reilly, chairman of Chevron Corp.; James Mulva, chairman of ConocoPhillips; John Hofmeister, chairman of Shell Oil Co.; and Ross Pillari, chairman of BP America Inc.

All this from a senate committee that couldn't even force the guys to stand for a photo like the seven tobacco executives did in 1994.

They stood up, took the oath, had their pictures taken and then lied about not believing cigarettes were addictive. Did they ever get prosecuted for perjury? Nope.

You can eventually expect the same treatment here.
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