Oil executives claim they did not participate in task force

| Friday, December 02, 2005

In response to requests to clarify remarks made when they testified before Congress in November, several oil companies have denied participating in an Energy Task Force organized by Dick Cheney in 2001, though they did acknowledge that representatives of their companies did meet with Bush administration aides at the time.

The remarks became an issue when executives from ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron testified before congress that they did not have any knowledge of anyone from their companies participating in the task force.

However, White House documents uncovered by The Washington Post said otherwise, prompting a call for clarification from several senators.

The Post reported Nov. 16 that documents showed representatives from four of the companies did visit the White House and met with aides from Cheney’s task force in early 2001.

Congressional Quarterly reported Thursday, Dec. 1, that two of the companies backed statements made by their CEO’s in the hearings that they had no personal knowledge of involvement in the task force, while the remaining companies said their executives’ statements were correct because meetings with White House aides did not constitute participation in the task force.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, said in a statement that the oil companies were merely using semantics to sidestep the issue. Reid called for the Justice Department to investigate whether the executives lied.

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