Lobbyists connected to fossil fuel firms are acting as bundlers for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign based on documents uploaded by journalist Lee Fang.
In a post for The Intercept, Fang highlighted how private prison lobbyists were helping raise money for Clinton’s campaign. Interestingly, the documents also highlight lobbyists—who also have gone through the revolving door—working on behalf of oil and gas companies.
Bundlers, as noted by Fang, “collect contributions on behalf of a campaign, and are often rewarded with special favors, such as access to the candidate.”
Tony Podesta, who lobbied the White House in 2013 to push for liquefied natural gas exports, is one bundler for the campaign. Moreover, he is the brother of John Podesta, a former White House official who recently worked with President Barack Obama on environmental issues. Currently, Podesta chairs Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Ankit Desai, vice president of government relations at Cheniere Energy, also is a registered bundler. Desai is a former government official who worked for then-Senator Joseph Biden and worked on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign.
Cheniere Energy, as noted by Fang and journalist Steve Horn in a report last year, received the first permit by the Obama administration in 2012 to export liquefied natural gas after lobbying White House officials.
Hillary Clinton is no stranger to natural gas as, while Secretary of State under the Obama administration, she pushed for shale gas development overseas. Journalist Mariah Blake, for Mother Jones, highlighted such efforts by the State Department in foreign countries:
As part of its expanded energy mandate, the State Department hosted conferences on fracking from Thailand to Botswana. It sent US experts to work alongside foreign officials as they developed shale gas programs. And it arranged for dozens of foreign delegations to visit the United States to attend workshops and meet with industry consultants—as well as with environmental groups, in some cases.
Steve Elmendorf is another supporter of Clinton’s campaign. He worked for former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt and Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign as well.
Currently, Elmendorf works for Bryan Cave Strategies, who have lobbied for Shell Oil many times. In 2007, Barack Obama criticized the Clinton campaign for relying on Elmendorf to push for a gas tax holiday. He called their efforts a “shell game, literally.”
Theresa Maria Fariello, vice president of government relations at ExxonMobil, is another bundler and also no stranger to the Democratic Party. From 1999 to 2001, she worked as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of International Affairs at the Department of Energy under then-President Bill Clinton’s administration.
While working for ExxonMobil, she lobbied Democratic officials to obtain “political intelligence” and is cited as the “chief-in-house Democrat” of the firm. The Hill, in 2011, named her as one of the top lobbyists in Washington D.C. where she is “fully engaged in the battles over regulations, oil subsidies and deepwater drilling.”
In general, some fossil fuel lobbyists are working for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, which will surely bring into question her stance on environmental issues like climate change as the primaries approach.