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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

GOP Senate Candidate Gillespie Made $3 Million ‘Advising’ Big Oil And Gas Lobbyists

GOP Senate Candidate Gillespie Made $3 Million ‘Advising’ Big Oil And Gas Lobbyists

You won’t find Ed Gillespie, the likely Republican nominee to challenge Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) this fall, on the official list of lobbyists maintained by the Secretary of the Senate’s database. That’s because Gillespie isn’t registered. But not being registered doesn’t mean he doesn’t help big corporations and lobbying firms advance their interests in Washington.

As a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Virginia, Gillespie’s recently filed ethics forms show that he made $2,958,800 over the last year from his consulting firm, aptly named Ed Gillespie Strategies.

Though Gillespie was for many years a registered lobbyist, through his previous firm Quinn Gillespie, he dropped off the rolls when he departed to pursue other ventures. Indeed, veteran lobbyists have deregistered en masse in recent years. In a recent investigation for The Nation, I reported on this latest trend against transparency, with thousands of lobbyists dropping their registrations — owing to a lax enforcement regime and the growing realization in Washington that the current lobbying registration law is largely a joke.

Because of his non-registered status, however, most voters probably have little idea what Gillespie has been up to. Using bankruptcy filings, I found one recent client paying Ed Gillespie Strategies several years ago: Washington Mutual, the bank that failed in 2008.

The ethics forms filed this month provide a new window into Gillespie’s business, which represents not only some of the largest corporations in America, but also works with several of the largest lobbying entities inside the Beltway: American Petroleum Institute, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, AT&T, Bank of America, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Broadband for America, DCI Group, Facebook, Microsoft, RATE Coalition, The Brunswick Group, U.S. Telecom, Univision, and Walgreens.

Notably, the DCI Group is itself a lobbying firm, while the American Petroleum Institute and America’s Natural Gas Alliance are trade associations that lobby heavily on their respective issues (API, which represents ExxonMobil, Chevron, and other oil majors, lobbies on fossil fuel subsidies, the Keystone XL, and expanded drilling access; ANGA , which represents the largest hydraulic fracturing companies in America, lobbies on fracking regulations, natural gas exports, and other liquefied natural gas regulations). Other Gillespie clients are essentially lobbying groups. The RATE Coalition, for example, is a coalition of firms such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin seeking lower corporate tax rates.

For Gillespie, formerly a White House Communications Director for George W. Bush, the revolving door has swung many times — and with each swing, his clout and wealth have climbed. If he wins election this year, his stock among the Beltway bandits on K Street is sure to rise for any future venture in the private sector.

The new disclosure of Gillespie’s clients also provides a new focus on the candidate’s issue platform. Gillespie opposes the Affordable Care Act’s regulatory mandates, and has made the effort to repeal the law a central part of his campaign. How much of that opposition, one must wonder, may relate to his work for insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield? On energy, Gillespie has attacked efforts to address climate change. In light of this new client list, voters may be scratching their head when they try to distinguish Gillespie’s policy platform from the goals of his Big Oil benefactors at the American Petroleum Institute.

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr.

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  • raginyank

    Nothing wrong with Ed lining his pockets; after all lifting ones self from poverty at tax payers expense. These enriching endeavors are more than acceptable, they are applauded within his own party. Business as usual for the GOP; he is a job creator, for himself.

  • exdemo55

    In 1998, Reid invested $400,000 in an undeveloped residential property located on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Reid’s partner in the deal was attorney Jay Brown, whom Ralston describes as a “master manipulator.” Reid transferred his share of the property to a company Brown controlled in 2001. By transferring the land to Brown’s firm, Reid avoided legal liability and some taxes. But Reid didn’t note the transfer — or that he had any stake in the company — in his financial disclosure forms, despite rules requiring such transfers to be reported. By 2004, Brown’s company sold the land, which had been rezoned for a shopping center, and Reid received $1.1 million. He reported the sale as if he had always had control of the property.

    When the Associated Press asked Reid about the deal during a 2006 interview, he hung up on the reporter. A spokesman later said that “there were several legal steps associated with the investment during those years that did not alter Senator Reid’s actual ownership interest in the land.” However, there was no physical proof that Reid had any stake in Brown’s company. The story may have caused Reid public embarrassment — he amended his ethics reports to include the full history of the property — but he walked away from the deal some $700,000 richer.

    That isn’t the only problematic land deal Reid was involved with at the time.

  • exdemo55

    Senator Harry Reid’s suggestion that Mitt Romney paid no taxes for ten years generated an unsurprising uproar, one magnified when Reid refused to reveal the anonymous source of his allegation.

    Reid might come to regret playing fast and loose with this accusation, as it has attracted media scrutiny to his own personal wealth. Betsy Woodruff at the National Review Institute cataloged multiple examples of Reid’s investment strategy. No matter the style and circumstance, this strategy is centered on Reid using his power as an elected official to his personal financial advantage:

    When his 2010 challenger Sharron Angle asked him in a debate how he had become so wealthy, he said, “I did a very good job investing.” Did he ever. On December 20, 2005, he invested $50,000 to $100,000 in the Dow Jones U.S. Energy Sector Fund (IYE), which closed that day at $29.15. The companies whose shares it held included ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, and ConocoPhillips. When he made a partial sale of his shares; on August 19, 2008, during congressional recess, IYE closed at $41.82. Just a month later, on September 17, Reid was working to bring to the floor a bill that the Joint Committee on Taxation said would cost oil companies — including those in the fund — billions of dollars in taxes and regulatory fees. The bill passed a few days later, and by October 10, IYE’s shares had fallen by 42 percent, to $24.41, for a host of reasons. Savvy investing indeed.

    • Lake girl

      Romney refused to provide his tax returns when he ran for president, later he released only the 2011 return, showing a 14% tax rate. He reported 34 offshore corporations and partnerships. ,including 15 in the Cayman Islands. Of these 34 countries he invests in, 30 are offshore tax havens. He received a $102,790 foreign tax credit paid for by the US taxpayers. Romney reported no income in wags, so he paid no payroll taxes. If his income was from wages, like the rest of us, his tax rate would be 40%, not 14%, and he would pay employment taxes, FICA and Medicare. Perfect example of how the rich become richer because when you money makes money, you are taxed less.

      • exdemo55

        So, what’s your point? Everything Romney did was legal…Reid’s, not so much. He’s a hypocrite.

        • Independent1

          Sorry, but you’re wrong. There is absolutely no legal way for a taxpayer to create a 401K that has accumulated over 100 million dollars in 15 years. There is simply no way to do that legally.

          By the rules, the most that Romney was legally allowed to dump into his 401K was $30,000/yr; so at the maximum dump-in rate the most he could have deposited into his 401k was $450,000 over 15 years. There is no legal way to turn $450,000 into over 100 million in 15 years.

          Romney had to have lied about the value of stocks that he was dumping into the 401k. When he was awarded stock options during his corporate pirating forays he had to have been grossly undervaluing them as he dumped them into the 401k and recorded them in his income tax forms; which is clearly one reason why he adamantly refused to divulge any further tax returns.

          And similarly, you cannot make a statement that Romney did everything legal without seeing his tax returns from prior years. It’s quite likely that he never reported a lot of his offshore income during many prior years – why else would he have gone to such trouble in setting up offshore accounts unless they gave him some kind of tax advantage (like simply don’t record several million in income earned in accounts in the Cayman Islands, Ireland, Switzerland and who knows where else. It’s quite possible Romney has offshore accounts no one has yet stumbled over!!!

          • exdemo55

            Cattlegate and Hillary Clinton

            In 1978, Hillary Rodham Clinton turned a small $1,000 investment into nearly $100,000 after 10 months. The event is referred to as the “cattle futures controversy” or “Cattlegate.”[1]

            The Journal of Economics and Statistics placed the odds at 250 million to one that a trader could honestly achieve the results Hillary achieved.[2]

            Hillary’s account was managed by Jim Blair, who was a high-ranking member of the Tyson food empire. Speculation is that Hillary’s profits in part reflected on a method to curry favor with her husband Bill’s administration.[3]

          • Independent1

            Wow!! You must have a lot of time to burn. You’re really not stupid enough to believe that anyone on the NM is believing all the lies and distortions that you’re posting from either right-wing wacko websites or right-wing wacko authors who’ve fabricated more conspiracy theories and gotten them published by somewhat partisan websites ARE YOU??

            Because I know I’m not buying one thing you’re posting and I’m pretty sure no one else on the NM is going to buy the crap you’re posting either. Go get a life somewhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • exdemo55

            You can’t handle the truth

          • Independent1

            I can handle the truth just fine. But if you think the folks posting on the NM are the same low IQ GOP Loving idiots you’re apparently accustomed to hoodwinking with your lies and distortions, YOU COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG!!!!!!!!

          • exdemo55

            I have never told a lie on this site. I may have expressed an opinion, but no lie. By the way, I thought you said you were ignoring me.

          • exdemo55

            As part of its vetting, the Romney campaign required at least some of the candidates on the short list—including the eventual winner of the GOP veepstakes, Ryan—to submit fully 10 years of tax returns, according to a knowledgeable source.

            The requirement was consistent with the past practices of both Republican and Democratic campaigns. Indeed, in 2008, Mitt Romney turned over 23 years of taxes to John Mccain’s campaign when he was under consideration to be the Arizona senator’s running mate.

            But this year, the vetting of tax returns has had particular political resonance because of Romney’s refusal to release more than two years of his own tax filings. The Obama campaign has waged a withering assault on Romney for his failure to be more transparent about his personal finances, part of a larger narrative seeking to portray the Republican nominee as a privileged plutocrat who has been able to mine the tax code for loopholes and other tricks unavailable to average middle—class Americans. For months, Chicago and its allies have hammered Romney on taxes, suggesting he must be hiding something.

            In response to questions about the 10-year requirement, Romney campaign press secretary Andrea Saul declined comment. “We do not discuss the VP selection process,” she wrote in an email.

            But the revelation that Romney aides demanded that its veep candidates be more forthcoming with their own campaign than with the American public drew predictable scorn from Team Obama. “Mitt Romney needs to answer one question: if he needed ten years of returns to decide on a vice presidential candidate, don’t the American people need the same to make their choice for president?” asked Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign.

            With its populist bent and emphasis on economic inequality, the Obama campaign believes its relentless focus on the tax issue has paid high political dividends. The polls seem to back that up. A USA Today/Gallup poll earlier this summer indicated that 56 percent of Americans believe Romney should be more forthcoming with his tax information.

            Leading the double-barreled attack on Romney’s supposed secrecy and privilege, often via Twitter, has been David Axelrod, Obama’s senior campaign adviser. As media attention began to focus on Romney’s search for a vice presidential candidate, Axelrod found a new way to press the tax issue: “Wonder how many years of back income tax returns Team Romney is asking for their VP candidates,” Axelrod asked in a Tweet in July. “Will their Veep release more than Mitt?”

            Axelrod got his answer the day after Romney selected Ryan to be his vice presidential candidate. In an interview on 60 Minutes, Ryan told CBS’s Bob Schieffer that like Romney, he would release no more than two years of tax returns. When asked during the interview how many years of taxes he’d submitted to campaign vetters, he would only say “several.” That was the same answer given to reporters by Beth Myers, a top Romney adviser who led the candidate’s vice-presidential search. In media interviews after the Ryan announcement, the veep runners-up were vague about the number of tax releases they submitted. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty used the same “several” formulation as Myers, as well as characterizing the number as “a bunch.”

            In the past, Romney advisers, including Ryan, have dismissed the tax issue as a political sideshow that is not high on the minds of voters. Romney has defended his decision not to release more information on his taxes, noting that he has done everything that is “required by law.” Moreover, Romney officials have argued that his position is in line with other presidential candidates including Sen. John McCain who released two years in 2008. That same year, then-candidate Barack Obama released seven years of tax returns. When Romney’s father, George Romney, ran for president in 1968, he released 12 years of returns.

            When Romney has given the public a peek at his finances, he has invited charges that he, the wealthiest American to ever run for president, has paid far lower rates than most average taxpayers. Romney shelled out an effective rate of 13.8 percent in taxes on an income of $21.7 million in 2010. The candidate has not yet released his returns for 2011, but he has stated that he expected to pay a rate of 15.4 percent on income of $20.9 million. Romney earned most of his fortune at Bain Capital and as an executive of an investment firm was able to take advantage of lower tax rates through a loophole known as “carried interest.”

            According to one Romney campaign adviser, there had been considerable debate earlier this summer about releasing more of the candidate’s taxes. In the end, those in favor of more transparency were overruled. The concern was not that Romney had skirted tax laws in any way; rather, it was that his taxes were so voluminous and complicated and involved so many investments and shelters —including offshore accounts in places like the Bahamas and the Caymen Islands—that the campaign would be handing the Obama camp free ammo.

            One reason Romney has publicly cited for not making his taxes public is his reluctance to reveal how much he and his wife, Ann, have tithed to the Mormon Church. In an interview with Parade magazine, Romney said that his religious contributions are “a very personal thing between ourselves and our commitment to our God and to our church.”

            In August, Obama campaign chief Jim Messina, suggested a compromise of sorts in the ongoing campaign war over Romney’s taxes. If Romney agreed to release a total of five years of returns, Chicago would declare a cease-fire and stop calling for more years of taxes. The Romney campaign rejected the offer.

          • exdemo55

            Recently reported information about the Obama administration’s release in 2013 of 36,007 criminal illegal aliens does not come from Klein and Elliott’s book, which was published last August. That story originated with internal memos from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE, as cited in a report by the Center for Immigration Studies.

            However, in “Impeachable Offenses: The Case to Remove Barack Obama from Office,” New York Times bestselling authors Klein and Elliott cite further ICE documentation showing the release of thousands more criminal illegals from 2009 to 2011.

            “Impeachable Offenses” further documents that of the more than 7,000 criminals released in those years, some went on to be charged with 19 more murders, three attempted murders and 142 sex crimes after their release from jail by the Obama administration.

            The statistics pose a grim outlook for the 36,007 additional criminal illegal aliens reportedly released last year by ICE.

            The details received more exposure last week after the book’s contents were highlighted in a WND article linked at the popular Drudge Report.

            A 2012 House report reviewed the effectiveness of the Secure Communities program, a project initially launched by the Bush administration to build databases identifying illegal aliens who qualify for deportation. The data covered arrests from October 2008 through July 2011.

            The report, cited by Klein and Elliott in “Impeachable Offenses,” analyzed data on 159,286 legal and illegal immigrants arrested by state or local police, including 7,283 illegal aliens who could have been deported but who were not taken into custody by ICE, despite being identified as living in the country unlawfully.

            The data shows that along with drunken-driving charges, the released illegals went on to commit 16,226 new crimes, including 19 murders, 142 sex offenses, 1,420 drug crimes, 682 cases of burglary or theft and 48 firearms charges.

      • ThomasBonsell

        You can bet your last dollar that the one year Romney released tax records for was also the year he paid the highest rate of taxation in his entire business career. That is why he released only one year.

        It’s not the noncollection of Social Security benefits by the aristocracy or the payment of payroll taxes by businesses that has the right wanting to destroy Social Security. It’s the $3 trillion in IOUs the Social Security Trust Fund holds after the Reagan scam of the 1980s. The Trust Fund is the No. 1 – by far – owner of our debt. The Federal Reserve is second. The only way to pay off that $3 trillion in IOUs is with taxes on anything except labor. The payroll tax would only make the debt bigger. The people who have been gorging themselves for three decades on working Americans’ taxes don’t want to pay off that debt with taxes they might have to pay.

  • Lake girl

    This is no different than our Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, wife who lives her life to fight Obamacare. Clarence Thomas checked the box that his wife made no income, but it was found that she had income from various conservative think tanks and activist organizations. Justice Clarence Thomas has been checking the box “none” for his wife’s income since 1991, throughout his entire tenure. Why is the Supreme Court above the law? Why didn’t Justice Thomas recused himself on the ObamaCare vote because of his wife’s involvement in fighting ObamaCare? If Justice Thomas had recused himself, then the states would not be able to opt out, which has resulted in many people in Republican states being denied free or subsidized healthcare.

    • Angel Perea

      KEEPING IT THOUGHTFULLY HONEST: Mr. “Oreo affirmative action” appointee is the least qualified and unethical Justice to seat on our Court! He is an standing embarrassment to this great court!

  • Budjob

    Lobbyists and,big oil are hindering a robust economic recovery in these United States! When “W” was appointed as President in 2000 there was approximately 4,000 blood sucking lobbyists in D.C. When he departed in 2008,there were over 16,000.Unless someone addresses these two problems in the US,we will NEVER have a strong economic recovery!!

    • Lake girl

      We must start with the corrupt Supreme Court. The 5 conservative Justices of this Roberts Court are owned by the Koch Bros. These same 5 conservatives determined that the Koch Bros’s company, Citizens United, was a “person”, making it legal for the first time that corporations could put all the money they want in our elections. The only way to overturn a Supreme Court ruling is an amendment to the Constitution. Let’s start the amendment process. By the way, we need to do something about the strangle hold the Supreme Court has on the US people because of their lifetime positions. Can we create a 65 age for retirement from the Supreme Court to rid the court of the old people?

      • Mark Forsyth

        No doubt we would need an amendment for that as well,and guess who would go out of their way to oppose it.The ones in robes.

  • Angel Perea

    THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH: This is who they are and represent! its called it the less one percent like the Koch brothers etc..