Democrats Want Oil Execs to Testify Again
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The Washington Post reported Wednesday that a White House document reveals that oil company executives met with Vice President Cheney’s energy task force in 2001, despite denials by industry executives last week during Senate committee testimony.The Washington Post story prompted some Democrats Wednesday to call for the oil industry executives to return to Capitol Hill and testify again --– this time under oath. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) also called for a Justice Department investigation into whether the oil executives lied during their testimony, the Los Angeles Times reported today. Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who presided over the joint-committee hearing last week, had refused Democrats’ requests to have the executives sworn in. The hearing was called to examine accusations that the oil industry had engaged in price gouging after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In their Senate testimony, executives from Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips denied having been participants in the task force, which was aimed at establishing national energy policy. Shell’s president said he didn’t know of any such participation by his company, and BP America’s executive said he didn’t know whether his company had participated. The Bush administration won a court battle to keep details about the task force meetings confidential. The Washington Post article reported that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco Inc. (before its merger with Phillips Petroleum Co.), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met with Cheney aides while they were drafting national energy policy. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) has called on the five oil company executives to address in writing questions raised by the Washington Post article.