11/17/2005

Oil Chiefs Asked to Clarify Some Remarks - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON - The chief executives of five major oil companies were asked Wednesday to clarify their recent Senate testimony about the companies' involvement in Vice President
Dick Cheney's energy task force four years ago.

Sens. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., made the request in letters to the executives after a published report said officials from four of the companies visited the White House complex in early 2001 to discuss energy issues with task force staff members.

The White House has refused to disclose contacts with industry representatives concerning the task force deliberations.

When Sen. Frank Lautenberg (news, bio, voting record), D-N.J., asked last week during a hearing on oil industry profits whether any of the companies' representatives had participated in the task force, four of the executives said they did not and the fifth said he did not know.

The Washington Post, citing White House documents, reported Wednesday that representatives from four of the companies had visited the White House complex and met with Cheney task force officials in early 2001.

Domenici, chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he sent a letter to the oil company executives seeking clarifications that would resolve any "apparent inconsistencies" in their testimony. He was joined in the letter by Bingaman, the energy panel's ranking Democrat.

Earlier, Lautenberg asked the Justice Department to investigate whether the executives might be guilty of giving false statements to Congress.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (news, bio, voting record), D-Wash., and five other Democrats asked Domenici to recall the executives and require them to testify under oath this time.

Oil Chiefs Asked to Clarify Some Remarks - Yahoo! News

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