Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Big Oil Swindle Gets Help From Enron Talent

Yesterday, we reported on the launch of yet another Big Oil front group, the American Energy Alliance (AEA). With so many of these shill groups for oil companies out there, one has to wonder: do they ever get competitive with each other? Who can be the biggest, baddest shill group EVER?

Well, it looks like the former Republican House staffers backing AEA are playing this game to win. And with Big Oil throwing around more than $80 million, any group that wants to be the big dog needs to bring its A-game. It needs some serious shill talent. It needs...

Enron talent.

AEA is the lobbying arm of the Institute for Energy Research, a pro-drilling group funded to the tune of $300,000 by ExxonMobil. Thanks to research by our friends at ThinkProgress, we know that the president of IER is one Robert Bradley, who previously served as a speechwriter and public policy director for Enron CEO Kenneth Lay.

That would be the same Kenneth Lay who went down in 2006 on ten counts of wire fraud, securities fraud and making false statements for his role in Enron's epic collapse.

Of course, when your math is as fuzzy as the AEA, you need a guy with some real Enron experience. The AEA and other opponents of the House clean energy bill in the conservative media have been trying to sell us on the idea that the bill would cost average American families $3,900 a year. Considering that the bill was written this year (which is 2009 at last check), maybe the oil companies shouldn't be using a study from 2007 whose own author says his work is being wildly misrepresented. Per ThinkProgress:
Memo to Media: The MIT study being used by opponents of the Waxman-Markey bill was published in April 2007 (see here). Needless to say, it doesn’t model the bill or any of its key provisions.

The author, MIT Professor John Reilly, explained to me today in an exclusive interview that “the Republican approach to estimating the cost of cap-and-trade is just wrong.” He said even “apart from the misrepresentation of the costs” by the GOP, “it is inappropriate to draw conclusions on the costs of Waxman-Markey” from a study published two years ago that doesn’t model key cost-containment provisions, such as the use of offsets! ["Inappropriate" is an academic term. A better word might be "fraudulent."]

Prof. Reilly said that the Weekly Standard reporter “feigned stupidity” in an effort to elicit answers that could be taken out of context and misrepresented. Reilly called the analysis in the resulting article, "Fuzzy Math: According to an MIT study, cap and trade could cost the average household more than $3,9000 per year" — now being cited by conservative blogs and politicians — “just silly.”
Can't say Bradley and his buddies at the AEA are letting those flack skills go to waste.

1 comment:

barryklein@mac.com said...

Derek made a rush to judgment regarding Rob Bradley.

There is nothing in Bradley's career that suggests he was a publicist or “flack” for Enron, then or now, and in fact put his job at risk by his criticisms of his employer while still an employee.

A visit to the links below should make that evident. One can also find information on the “fuzzy math” question and John Reilly’s flip-flops regarding the cost of cap-and-trade.