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Dems feign outrage over Trump meeting with oil giants while Biden rubs shoulders with climate groups


Daily Caller News Foundation

The Senate Finance Committee and Senate Budget Committee, respectively chaired by Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden and Sheldon Whitehouse, sent letters to eight oil companies and a major oil industry trade association last week demanding information related to a fundraising dinner held April 11 at former President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach home.

The senators accuse Trump of working to trade policy for campaign contributions. This cynical conclusion ignores the fact that most political candidates meet with prominent business leaders all the time.

For the senators, it is a low-hanging-fruit case of going after two of their favorite political boogeymen — Trump and “Big Oil”— at the same time, an opportunity too good to pass up. The hyperbolic language in their letter reveals the tiresome partisan politics at play.

Politico notes that the letter is just the latest in a series of inquiries targeting the oil and gas industry launched by congressional Democrats in recent weeks as the campaign season heats up and Election Day nears. “Democrats have upped the political ante against the industry just as oil company executives have started opening their wallets to back Trump’s campaign against President Joe Biden,” notes Politico reporter Ben Lefebvre.

The senators unironically demand to know if any industry-friendly policy actions a second Trump administration might take were discussed during the dinner, something that takes place at pretty much every political fundraiser held on U.S. soil by either party.

In another Democrat-led action targeting the oil and gas industry, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, sent a letter on May 21 to the CEOs of ExxonMobil, Chevron, Hess, BP America and three other energy companies making allegations of collusion with the OPEC+ cartel to fix U.S. gas prices.

“If US oil companies are colluding with each other and foreign cartels to manipulate global oil markets and harm American consumers who then pay more at the pump, Congress and the American people deserve to know,” Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, wrote in his letter.

Atlantic Council fellow and energy expert Dr. Ellen Wald responded to Pallone’s letter on her X account, calling the allegations of collusion “insane,” adding: “Inflation, supply chain issues, lack of pipeline capacity, consolidation in the shale patch, rising costs & availability of labor & supplies for drilling & sanctions against Russia oil all contributed to higher prices over the past several years. Collusion with OPEC – No.”

Dr. Wald further continued: “but yes, by all means, haul in the execs of the oil companies that are actually producing oil that your constituents NEED & berate them for producing products the economy needs to function while grilling them about they every [sic] had dinner with OPEC Sec Mohammed Barkindo.”

Former presidential candidate and CEO of Forbes Media Steve Forbes also responded to the controversy with a thread on his X account. “[S]ince when have US energy producers colluded with OPEC to suppress energy output and raise prices? Good job getting the facts wrong,” Forbes writes. “Biden’s FTC even admitted the US’s producers have led the world in production gains in recent years.”

Forbes then quotes from an FTC statement: “A potential constraint on OPEC and OPEC+ is United States crude oil production. The United States for the past six years in a row has produced more crude oil than any nation ever, including in 2023, when U.S. production averaged 12.9 million barrels per day.”

In an interview on the Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends” on May 24, API President Mike Sommers responded to the Wyden/Whitehouse letter by saying, “The president of United States should be meeting with executives in the oil and gas industry and executives from every industry. This is something that a president should do.”

But, Sommers added, President Biden “has not asked once for a meeting with the oil and gas industry, which employs over 11 million workers in the United States.”

On the other hand, Biden has met many times with leaders from climate-alarm-oriented conflict groups who constitute some of the biggest funders of his and other Democratic campaigns. In fact, those meetings included discussions of specific policy actions his administration could take that would benefit their organizations.

Unfortunately, Senators Wyden and Whitehouse, as well as Rep. Pallone, have no similar interest in highlighting any of that.

David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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