Financial Times: Probe urged into oil meetings: “The top ranking Democrat in the US Senate yesterday called for an investigation into whether senior oil executives lied in testimony before Congress about meetings they held with Dick Cheney, vice-president, to discuss energy policy.”: Friday 2 December 2005
By Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington
Published: December 2 2005
The top ranking Democrat in the US Senate yesterday called for an investigation into whether senior oil executives lied in testimony before Congress about meetings they held with Dick Cheney, vice-president, to discuss energy policy.
Harry Reid's decision to call on the Justice Department to investigate the testimony of executives from ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Shell and ConocoPhillips revives long-running questions about who participated in a series of secretive "task force" meetings Mr Cheney held in 2001 that helped shape US energy policy.
An appeals court in May ruled that Mr Cheney did not have to divulge who participated in the meetings after the Bush administration argued that to do so would interfere with "vital executive branch functions".
The issue was brought back to life last month after the heads of the world's biggest oil companies testified before a congressional hearing that they had not participated, or did not recall participating, in the task force.
But in written responses to the Senate energy committee released this week, BP, Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil admitted officials had met administration officials at the time the task force was evaluating energy issues.
Ross Pillari, president and chief executive of BP America, had said at the hearing he did not know whether BP had participated in the meetings, but in his written response admitted: "BP representatives did meet with [task force] staff members."
Dave O'Reilly, chairman and chief executive of Chevron, said company representatives did not attend meetings with administration officials "for the purpose" of discussing task force activities, but did have discussions on energy policy with officials in the administration.
ExxonMobil said none of its executives had attended any meetings of the task force, but confirmed a report in the Washington Post that said company officials had met a member of the administration in February 2001.
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