WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Democrats on Wednesday again demanded that the Justice Department investigate whether big oil company executives lied to Congress about their firms' involvement with a White House task force that developed the Bush administration's energy policy.
The lawmakers accused the heads of Exxon Mobil Corp.,
The Washington Post later reported that a White House document showed many of the companies had met with the energy task force.
The executives stood by their initial statements when they were to asked to clarify them after The Post story came out. However, they admitted talking about various energy matters with members of the administration, including Cheney.
In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Wednesday, the lawmakers said if witnesses believed the laws won't be enforced requiring truthful testimony to Congress, then Senate hearings will loose their usefulness and the chamber can't legislate.
``You and your Department have a unique constitutional duty to enforce laws that help protect the integrity of proceedings before the United States Senate,'' the lawmakers said. ``We strongly urge you to exercise this critical duty.''
The letter was signed by eight Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey.
Lautenberg had previously asked the Justice Department to investigate whether the oil company executives lied in their testimony.
The department responded that it takes allegations of false statements to Congress very seriously, and asked Lautenberg to provide specific information, beyond what is available in printed news reports, on which oil executives may have lied to Congress.