Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

Talking Dirty in the President’s Ear

The revolving door between the Obama Administration and TransCanada keeps on spinning, despite a decision on the hugely controversial pipeline just weeks away.

Let’s not forget the first revolving door story, which revolves around Paul Elliott, who is TransCanada’s lobbyist promoting Keystone XL. Elliot worked for Hilary Clinton during her 2008 campaign.  Recently released embarrassing emails reveal how Elliott tried to exploit his previous political relationships in order to get the pipe-line past the regulatory hurdle.

Now we have a lobbyist going the other way. Broderick Johnson, a Washington lawyer, has joining President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign as a senior adviser and member of the senior staff.

Johnson just happened to be a prominent lobbyist for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, working on the Keystone XL account at Bryan Cave LLP. Johnson was a registered lobbyist promoting TransCanada’s proposed pipeline in the fourth quarter of 2010. During that time, TransCanada paid $120,000 to Bryan Cave.

The appointment has caused outrage in the environmental community: Kim Huynh, dirty fuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth, called it a “deeply troubling development. A lobbyist who has taken corporate cash to shill for this dirty and dangerous pipeline now has even more opportunity to whisper into the president’s ear.”

Prominent environmentalist Bill McKibben said the appointment “stinks. I don’t think you could conceive a more elaborate way to disrespect not just the environmental community but also Occupy Wall Street, because this is simply a reminder of the way that corporate lobbyists dominate our politics. Forget ‘Hope and Change’ — it’s like they want their new slogan to be ‘Business as Usual.’”

According to the Obama campaign, Johnson “will be an ear to the ground for the campaign’s political and constituency operations, helping to ensure that there is constant, open communication between the campaign and our supporters around the country.”

But more and more of the president’s supporters might desert him if he gives approval to Keystone XL. Despite what any dirty oil lobbyist whispers in his ear.

Comments (1)

  1. You have a genuine non partisan issue here. All political sides soak up corporate cash. Everybody agrees that it’s a bad thing but how do you stop it?

    Public funding that is capped & no donations or private funding allowed.

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