Ridge, now 65 years-old, has worn multiple hats throughout his extensive political career. Among them: first ever head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Bush Administration from 2003-2005, former Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995-2001, and former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from from 1983-1995.
Upon leaving the DHS in 2005, Ridge commenced his career as a lobbyist, opening a lobby shop known as Ridge Global, located in Washington, D.C, an entity he still currently heads. Beyond this stint, though, Ridge is also a paid “consultant” (a.k.a. lobbyist) for the Marcellus Shale Coaltion. This Coalition is a “trade association” in disguise, for in reality it is a gas industry-funded lobbying organization.
That aside, one must look no further than the Pennsylvania Department of State’s lobbyist registry for the real smoking gun evidence. (See attached lobbying disclosure for Tom Ridge.)
On Friday, the Canadian government fell to a vote of non-confidence. As Canadians prepare to head to the polls for an early May election, the oily architects of the Tea Party, mega-funders of climate change denial and bankrollers of major right wing think tanks including FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity have made a timely infiltration into Canadian politics.
Last week, we reported that the oily brothers had set up shop to lobby in Alberta. But perhaps more disquieting than that is that, according to Environmental Defence, Alberta isn’t the only province being strangled by the Kochtopus. The Koch brothers have officially registered to lobby in Ontario too.
Three watchdog groups filed an appeal today with the U.S. State Department over its refusal to release correspondence between the agency and a former high-ranking presidential campaign staffer for Hillary Clinton. In his role as oil lobbyist, Paul Elliott is seeking Secretary of State Clinton’s approval for the controversial Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline that would bring 900,000 barrels of tar sands a day over 2,000 miles through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
The coalition, including Friends of the Earth, the Center for International Environmental Law, and Corporate Ethics International submitted a FOIA request in December [PDF] targeted at Elliott, now lead lobbyist for TransCanada, the company aiming to build the pipeline. The request was rejected by the State Department, and Marcie Keever, legal director for Friends of the Earth, believes that the State Department did not have legitimate legal grounds to do so.
For the groups, the failure of the State Department to comply with its responsibility under the Freedom of Information Act is worrying, and further calls into question Clinton’s capacity to remain impartial on the pipeline decision.
“By refusing to disclose any documents, we contend that the State Department is violating the Freedom of Information Act,” said Keever. “We are hopeful that with this appeal the State Department will release communications between the oil lobbyist and Secretary Clinton and her staffers. If the agency doesn’t, we will take it to court if necessary.”
Politico is reporting that Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and other members of his staff recently met in a closed door meeting with lobbyists from the dirty energy industry. As reported earlier, Upton is the new Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and has taken an adversarial stand against the Environmental Protection Agency.
Also attending the meeting was Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and perhaps the most well-known and loudest global warming deniers in Congress.
According to the report from Politico:
“The roster of those attending the invitation-only gathering is being kept under lock and key, though it is believed to include the American Petroleum Institute, National Mining Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and others.”
A coalition of organizations composed of Friends of the Earth, the Center for International Environmental Law, and Corporate Ethics International submitted a Freedom of Information Act request [PDF] this week asking for all communications between the agency and a former presidential campaign manager for Hillary Clinton.
Paul Elliot, the lobbyist in question, served as national deputy director and chief of staff for delegate selection for Clinton’s Presidential campaign committee. He’s now a lobbyist for TransCanada, the company aiming to build the controversial 2,151 mile-long Keystone XL Pipeline.
The above organizations are concerned about how the relationship between Secretary of State Clinton and Elliot may impact the approval process for the controversial tar sands pipeline. For the coalition of watchdog organizations, this is just the latest in a series of developments that cast doubt on whether the State Department is fulfilling its obligations to conduct an exhaustive and transparent review of the environmental and public health dangers of the proposed pipeline.
For at least a year before the 2008 U.S. election, legions of political geeks were glued to a number of websites, from pollster.com to politico.com. The latter provided more or less excellent coverage, including the all-important electoral map.
But when it comes to the credibility of policy discussions, it looks like they’ve shot themselves in the foot. Via their “reporter” Erika Lovley, they are actively pushing the climate change skeptics’ agenda.
I’ll just give a big hat tip to Brad Johnson at Think Progress, because he sums it all up in one paragraph:
Erika Lovley, the Politico’s energy and environment reporter, today wrote a full-page article on the dying breed of global warming deniers that promotes their brand of toxic stupidity