PolluterWatch Calls for Senate Ethics Inquiry on Lobbyist-Written Amendment

  • Posted on: 12 January 2010
  • By: admin

Today, PolluterWatch Director Kert Davies sent a letter to Senator Barbara Boxer, the Chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, asking her to open an ethics inquiry into charges that former Bush administration officials who now peddle influence for the coal industry, wrote an amendment for Senator Lisa Murkowski to restrict EPA's ability to regulate emissions under the Clean Air Act:

Senator Barbara Boxer
The Select Committee on Ethics
220 Hart Building, United States Senate,
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224 - 2981

January 12, 2009

Dear Senator Boxer-

We are concerned that top Bush Administration EPA officials, now employed as high-priced coal, utility and oil lobbyists, had a strong hand in crafting the language of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s proposed amendment to strip authority from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

The Washington Post has exposed a significant role played by Jeffrey R. Holmstead (now of Bracewell & Guiliani) and Roger R. Martella Jr. (now with Sidley Austin) in writing and developing the strategy around Senator Murkowski’s legislation.

While at first Holmstead acknowledged his involvement, he, Murkowski and Martella have all quickly sought to minimize the lobbyists’ involvement with claims of “technical expertise,” from these supposedly “nationally recognized experts.”
That description would be laughable, if this issue weren’t so serious. During their public “service,” Holmstead and Martella were among the most aggressive of the Bush operatives working against the nation’s clean energy interests and working for the Bush EPA that stonewalled regulation of greenhouse gases after the landmark 2007 Supreme Court ruling.

The fact that we paid them with our tax money to undermine the national interest is simply adding insult to injury. We think the public deserves at least an inquiry from the Senate Committee on Ethics into the depth of the relationship between Senator Murkowski’s staff and these two lobbyists. The public deserves to know if the situation documented by the Post is acceptable to the Senate.

To some observers, this seems to be business-as-usual for Washington, DC, where the revolving door spins freely between the legislative and regulatory branches of government and the corporate lobbying influence peddling sector. We think the last place these guys should be is within a mile of public policy, and that the best thing that can be done is to keep a very hot spotlight on them so they don’t do more damage to America’s interests.

Sincerely,

Kert Davies
PolluterWatch Director
Greenpeace US 202-462-1177