The Congressional Black Caucus seems to have strange bedfellows. An Exxon lobbyist was recently caught on tape bragging about dodgy practices and he turned out to be an advisor to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF).
A nonprofit affiliate of the Congressional Black Caucus, the foundation researches how policies affect Black communities and it publishes legislative reports, among other things.
ExxonMobil senior lobbyist Keith McCoy was caught on video discussing how his company has fought climate science and worked to stop Congress from passing climate bills. The CBC Foundation has declined to boot him from its advisory board. More swamp madness.
McCoy revealed that he and his employer fight congressional climate action by using “shadow groups” and centrist think tanks, Sludge reported.
McCoy is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s corporate advisory council, which advises the CBCF’s board of directors on policy, special initiatives, and leadership development. The CBCF board also includes six members of the House of Representatives, “some of whom hold positions on the House committee with jurisdiction over legislation related to environmental protections and climate change,” Sludge reported.
Environmental justice organization Greenpeace tricked McCoy into sharing secrets about the oil giant’s efforts to fight climate initiatives in Washington. McCoy thought he was speaking to a corporate headhunter.
During the conversation, McCoy said, “Did we aggressively fight against some of the science? Yes. Did we hide our science? Absolutely not. Did we join some of these shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts? Yes, that’s true. But there’s nothing — there’s nothing illegal about that. We were looking out for our investments. We were looking out for our shareholders.”
Many see the ties between the CBCF and Exxon as controversial. Black Americans disproportionately live in areas “on the front lines of the environmental threats posed by climate change and the health impacts of fossil fuel pollution,” Sludge reported.
In fact, “more than 1 million African Americans live within a half-mile of natural gas facilities, over 1 million African Americans face a ‘cancer risk above EPA’s level of concern’ due to unclean air, and more than 6.7 million African Americans live in the 91 U.S. counties with oil refineries,” according to researchers at the Princeton Student Climate Initiative.
McCoy described representatives and senators as fish, and himself as a fisherman. “When you have an opportunity to talk to a member of Congress, you know… I liken it to fishing, right, you have bait, you throw that bait out, it’s all these opportunities that you use, just to use the fishing analogy again, to reel them in because they’re a captive audience.”
He continued to talk about how the support for a carbon tax by Exxon is merely a public relations tactic because such a tax will never be implemented, Democracy Now reported.
Since 2011, Exxon has donated more than $2.1 million to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, including $100,000 on June 21, according to lobbying contribution records filed by the company.
Even though McCoy’s conversation has come to light, the CBCF has not dismissed him from the board.
“They should consider not keeping him, whatever the term may be for that,” tweeted green nude eel @sorcerershomie.
Darren Woods, Exxon CEO, and chairman, spoke out against McCoy’s comments. “We condemn the statements and are deeply apologetic for them, including comments regarding interactions with elected officials,” Woods told NBC News.
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This isn’t the first time the Congressional Black Caucus has been involved with a questionable lobbyist. CBC Political Action Committee member Chaka Burgess, a co-managing partner of Empire Consulting Group, was hired by Juul Labs to handle legislative and Food and Drug Administration regulatory efforts regarding e-cigarettes and vaping products.
Juul Labs “has been the main target over the public backlash against teenage vaping, announced plans to suspend selling flavored e-cigarette pods in retail outlets and end social media promotions,” O’Dwyer’s reported.