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View Diary: Corruption scandal brewing at Clinton State Dept. over Tar Sands Review (246 comments)

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  •  What eactly is incriminating about this? (9+ / 0-)
    with Verloop asking Elliott when he planned to come up to Ottawa again. "When are you coming up to visit?" she wrote. "It's a snowy winter wonderland here this morning."

    This is not exactly "meet me in the Senate Cloakroom with a Million Dollars Cash" stuff.
    A state Department staffer being friendly with a lobbyist? Jeez, it not like it doesn't happen EVRY FREAKING DAY!! I don't see that as illegal.
    I read about halfway through the emails cited and I didn't see ANY illegality at all.  There may be some impropriety but I don't even see that. A lobyist talking to State Department Staff, obviously a friendly rellationship. A Democratic Senator writing a Democratic Secretary of State urging approval of a prject in bhis state---thats illegal? Its illegal for someone to have a friendly relationship with a state dept staffer?? Oh would that it be, it would end all lobbying but its not going to  happen.

    Could someone please point to the illegal part?

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 07:45:30 AM PDT

    •  THis should be illegal... (11+ / 0-)

      if it isn't already:

      mails uncovered by Friends of the Earth reveal State Department employees in a cozy relationship with Paul Elliot, a leader on Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign turned head lobbyist for Keystone XL – offering personal favors, praise, advice, and generally cheerleading the project while it was under review. Some of the messages are just damning. Here are some quotes:

      “It’s precisely because you have connections that you’re sought after and hired,” offered as praise for Elliot’s work.

    •  didn't say it was illegal, because this is (15+ / 0-)

      allowed in our process.  That is the reason we have so much corporate influence in our government..because it's allowed.   This coziness between corporations and our government needs to stop.

      •  Yeah but its not illegal! (0+ / 0-)

        I agree with all of what you said. But my point is, its not illegal and it happens evry day. Its what lobbyists do.
        Ive actuallly looked at a lot of the emails by now, not just read half paragraph summaries and I think that anyone who  does will agree with me.
        There's nothing illegal at all, as least as far as I read

        “It’s precisely because you have connections that you’re sought after and hired,” offered as praise for Elliot’s work.

        Think what you will about the morality, there's NOTHING illegal in that quote at all.
        I thin k  people are piling on herewithout actually reading the emails and considering if theyre really illegal or not.
        Sure I hate the governmet too  but there's still nothing illegal here

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 07:57:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Illegal? (9+ / 0-)

          The law is written by and for the corrupt and the influence peddlers.  Why would they make themselves into criminals by criminalizing what they do for a living?

          What it is is far worse than merely being illegal- many things are illegal and harmless or trivial and many legal and heinous- it is morally wrong.  Evil, to put it bluntly.

          The fact that this administration is apparently fine with evil is the takeaway from this story.  How the hell does anyone defend the current administration on any basis other than the tired and amoral "lesser evil" argument? And why do we give our imprimatur to such evil by supporting its perpetrators?

          You support evil- even "lesser evil", you become a force of evil yourself.  

          Advisors for President-Elect Barack Obama feared the new administration would face a coup if it prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a new report out this morning.

          by Kurt Sperry on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 08:38:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "Crimes" Made Legal (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          beach babe in fl

          Isn't this the essence of why our government is so corrupt?  

          Our election campaign contribution system is, for lack of a better term, "bribery made legal."  Under this system, corporations can spend as much as they like while the public financing of elections violates the free speech rights of the wealthy.

          Under this system, the 99% don't matter.  

        •  So John Yoo Is A Great Guy And So Is Bush (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          beach babe in fl

          Yoo gave Bush the cover of legality, but that hardly made it remotely acceptable. Saying this is legal is hardly a defense.

    •  I see these emails (23+ / 0-)

      coupled with the TransCanada contractor writing the EIS and running the hearings coupled with the first two draft EIS's being woefully flawed coupled with the need for adding an Errata sheet to the final EIS re: something that is fundamental coupled with the ramifications of the Interior Dept. under Bush having this kind of cozy relationship with the oil industry prior to the BP disaster sort of a major red flag.

      As we know, legality is not an emblem of safety in this country.  Lots of shite was legal in the banking industry prior to its collapse.

      The surface has just been scratched re: Keystone XL.

      Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 08:04:39 AM PDT

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      •  excellent comment, gchaucer2, thanks n/t (3+ / 0-)
      •  What I see is that (12+ / 0-)

        the administration has been taking full advantage of the anti-science climate that has been created by the Owners for the last decade at least.

        I saw a diary today that talked about how the EU is dismayed at the disregard for science, especially concerning climate change, in the U.S.

        And then, the oil companies want to drill in the Antarctic. So we find that the Obama administration has been accused of hounding scientist Charles Monnett so it can open up the fragile region to drilling by Shell and other big oil companies.

        And there are so many other similar stories. So when I read that the State Department claimed this Tarsands pipeline was environmentally safe, I saw it as just another instance of corruption, greed, and the usual stomping on science.

        "So here's us, on the raggedy edge" - Mal Reynolds -8.88, -7.90

        by Presumptuous Insect on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 08:26:42 AM PDT

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      •  No illegality or impropriety= no scandal (0+ / 0-)

        Could someone PLEASE point to the illegal part? Thats all I'm asking
        If you can't do that just the (officially, not morally) improper part?

        I haven't seen either yet

        Thanks

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 08:37:44 AM PDT

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        •  I'm honestly befuddled (15+ / 0-)

          as to why you've hitched your wagon to "illegality" as being the benchmark here.  There's a cumulative stench of impropriety, conflict of interest and down right incompetence.  

          This review process is based on Executive Order 13337 written by George W. Bush in 2004 -- it is fundamentally an expedited process for certifying energy related pipelines.  While the process originates in the State Dept. it is also supposed to be reviewed by 8 agencies.  Please recall that Rumsfeld was Sec. of State and all other agency heads were mere rubber stampers.  Most projects were rammed through in record speed.

          I have zero clue how this debacle will end, but EPA has already delayed this process by two years because the first two EIS were seriously flawed.  Actual checks are taking place.  Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Homeland Security and Energy have to weigh in.  Chu sounds like his is leaning pro, unfortunately.  

          While the Bureau of Land Management can grant right of way over federal lands - there remains a serious test under Eminent Domain re: private lands.  The feds have to demonstrate a takings for the common good -- I think they will not be able to do that without completely gutting Eminent Domain.

          After Citizens United, it is basically legal to buy elections.  Does that eliminate cause for concern?

          Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

          by gchaucer2 on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 08:50:57 AM PDT

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          •  You've still shown me nothing illegal or improper (0+ / 0-)

            There's ALWAYS cause for concern.
            But don't you think that a scandal requires some illegality or impropriety to be a scandal? I ask again--please point to the illegality or inpropriety in THIS case, not all the rest of the cases you can think of.
            Read the emails---I have-----and point to the one you think is illegal or officially improper. Without that what basis do you have  to call it a scandal? Its just normal behavior.
            "Hitchhed my wagon?" Benchmark? What other benchmark of a scandal is there besides being illegal and/or improper? All Ive asked is for someone to point out ONE thing thats illegal or outside the standard of normal, evry day political behavior: A senator writing in support of a project---NO quid pro quo asked for or received. A State Department  staffer in a friendly relationship with a lobbyist---again no quid pro quo, the quoted email in the diary is a fraking weather report!.
            Somebody a few comments up says its--evil? Point to the thing you think is "evil."  
            I'm looking for evidence that there's something officially wrong here and no one has showed it to me yet.

            I'm befuddled too----if there's no official impropriety or illegality and its totally within  common every day, bi partisan behavior then why is it a scandal?

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 09:14:54 AM PDT

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            •  I'm not interested (12+ / 0-)

              in repeating ad nauseum why I think your "illegal" requirement is a red herring.

              I'm an enviro attorney.  I review proposed regs.  There's a ton of case law regarding flawed regs which are not necessarily illegal -- but the flaws are so egregious that they've had to be re-written or excised.  You can keep beating this drum but I don't think you know how the regulatory and administrative process works and doesn't work.

              Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

              by gchaucer2 on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 09:21:26 AM PDT

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              •  A scandal requires some wrongdoing, doesn't it? (0+ / 0-)

                I'm not beating ANY drum or no more than you are anyway.
                What I'm sayin has nothing at all to do with the regulatory or administrative process, nor does this diary other than calling it corrupt.
                The title of this dary is "Corrupttion Scandal brewing......."
                IN order to use the term corruption or scandal, some wrongdoing is implied. EVERY scandal has some allleged wrongdoing at the bottom of it, be it a burglary or a blowjob or its not a scandal---its a normal event.
                 I am asking---and haven't been answered yet by you or anyone else---for simple proof----no not even that, for believable accusations of corruption in the "evidence" presented here.
                If you think that there is anything in the offered text of the diary that constitutes proof or even a believable allegation that there is conrrruption in this affair than point to it---quote it!!

                “It’s precisely because you have connections that you’re sought after and hired,” offered as praise for Elliot’s work

                The article calls it "damning evidence" Damning evidence of what? What is that "damning evidence of? You don't know and neither does anyone else because you don't know the context it was taken out of unless youve read the emails in question. Have you?. Or have you just read the quotes here?  I was hoping the Repugs and Tea PArtiers were the only ones damning with innuendoes and taking things out of context. Another illusion dies hard.
                Just like all these other one sentence quotes here. If you don't know the context, i.e. haven't read the whole email you don't know if thats "damning" or not or what its evidence of. That she likes Ellliot IS NOT ILLEGAL! Its not even improper unless it can be proven That one or the other profited from the relationship in an ilegal manner---THATS why questions of legallity are important. I couldn't imagine an attorney arguing that questions of legality aren't important but here you are.
                And you know as well as me there's no"damning evidence' here or at least it hasn't been presented yet. Or point to it and explain why its "damning."

                 None of these one sentence lines is any "damning proof" just because Mother Jones says it is. Look beyond the hyperbole and the desire to throw mud on the Obama administration..

                Happy just to be alive

                by exlrrp on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 04:02:01 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wrong: Cheney Inviting Oil Lobbyist To WH (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  beach babe in fl

                  There was quite a scandal with Cheney inviting in oil lobbyists to consult about energy policy. What was scandalous was who was involved in setting energy policy, not that the scandal derived from Cheney committing a crime. The same also goes for the fake reporter in the Bush WH press room, which that wasn't illegal, but was highly scandalous. Any number of past scandals haven't been considered scandalous because an alleged crime took place, but have been considered scandals for other reasons.

          •  If you're going to use the word "scandal" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            white blitz, exlrrp

            then it should be based on something.  Where is the "scandal"?  Someone wrote an email saying, "You're hired because you have connections.", those connections being that said individual worked on Hillary's campaign.  OK, so where's the "scandal"?  I don't agree that somethimg must be "illegal" in order to be a "scandal", but please give us something more than this in order to apply the "scandal" label.

      •  There are several separate points (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        beach babe in fl

        I am guessing you have never written an EIS.  These things are thousands of pages long and difficult to get right.  The fact that there's an errata sheet is trivial.  

        Second, the discussion of mitigations isn't especially incorrect.  Impacts are required to be mitigated under NEPA, but mitigations are supposed to be discussed.  Well, they were discussed.  NOt sure there's a lot to it beyond that.  Buying offsets is lame, but as the EIS points out, the carbon impacts of the pipeline itself aren't large.

        That said, the other two issues you have aremuch more problematic.  First, is the close connection of the lobbyist with Clinton of course an major problem.  In fact, the participation of lobyists in this process at all is a problem, and not one unique to the Obama administration.

        Second, hiring a transcanada contractor to do this EIS raises huge questions.

        I appreciate your work on this a lot (although it's important to focus on real substantive issues, rather than ones that aren't supported, if you follow.)

        Intelligent, passionate, perceptive people will always disagree, but we should not let that disagreement, however heartfelt, lead us to become deaf to those better angels of our nature.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 04:28:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nothing. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pigpaste, white blitz

      This is the politics of demonization, smear, and personal destruction.  It's just as odious from the far left as it is from the far right.

      Rather than argue againt this Tar-Sands thing on the merits, the opposition has decided to use smear tactics.

      I'm not declaring that there's no corruption that went on (nor am I declaring the opposite).  But I'm saying that there's no proof of any corruption that has been presented to this point.  There is merely smear and innuendo at this point.

      •  Exactly. (0+ / 0-)

        "Corruption" implies favors in exchange for money. There's nothing here to support that accusation.

      •  There are two major conflicts here (0+ / 0-)

        First, hiring a TransCanada contractor to do this work may well run afoul legal requirements.  Agencies are required to take a hard look, and if they haven't the approval gets thrown out.

        Second, lobbyists shouldn't be involved in the environmental review process.

        This isn't a question of smear, it's a question of whether appropriate process was followed.  It is far from clear that it isn't.

        Frankly, this idea that the left isn't arguing on the merits is ridiculous to the point of smaer yourself.  Perhaps you've been under a rock and not seen the analyses by a lot of scientists and so forth on the merits.  On the merits, this thing ought to be dead.  Unfortunately, Obama is no particular friend to the environment.

        Intelligent, passionate, perceptive people will always disagree, but we should not let that disagreement, however heartfelt, lead us to become deaf to those better angels of our nature.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 04:31:45 PM PDT

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    •  especially since (0+ / 0-)

      project proponents pretty much have to meet with the agencies to discuss outstanding requirements in the environmental review process.  I'm not even sure this is an indiciation of an overly friendly relationship.  

      Intelligent, passionate, perceptive people will always disagree, but we should not let that disagreement, however heartfelt, lead us to become deaf to those better angels of our nature.

      by Mindful Nature on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 04:20:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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