By now Exxon Mobil is used to putting up with reckless, ill-informed attacks from environmental extremists. Pretty much every pious, Prius-driving Bernie SandersBernie SandersPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks Sanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan MORE voter has gotten Siri to post an irate tweet beating up on the American energy giant.
But the latest war on Exxon Mobil is coming from a rather unexpected place: members of the family made rich by founding the company.
Several of the fifth-generation Rockefellers who manage the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Rockefeller Family Fund are funding a peculiar witch hunt against Exxon Mobil, the most direct corporate descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company – and a few of their relatives have had enough.
In an attempt to push their radical environmental agenda, the silver spooners behind the Rockefeller Family Fund held meetings where anti-Exxon activists discussed ways “to establish in public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Soon thereafter InsideClimate News, a recipient of Rockefeller cash, released a story alleging Exxon’s own research discovered a link between fossil fuels and climate change in the late 1970s.
According to the article, the research was later covered up and denied. The shaky claims were then used as the basis for lobbying efforts to encourage state attorneys general to launch investigations into, and bring racketeering and fraud charges against, Exxon Mobil and other energy companies.
In December, the heads of the Rockefeller Family Fund admitted they and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund “paid for a team of independent reporters from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism to try to determine what Exxon and other U.S. oil companies had really known about climate science, and when.” That Rockefeller-funded fishing expedition turned into the InsideClimate News story.
Documents later released by Exxon Mobil indicates that the reports generated by Columbia University and InsideClimate News were cobbled together by taking cherry-picked statements out of context to create a narrative that was simply not true.
In fact, the full documents suggest a discussion about climate change that included a wide range of theories and an honest effort by Exxon Mobil to understand the impact of fossil fuels on the environment. As the relationship between fossil fuels and climate change became more widely assumed, the company began working with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and spent heavily to create lower-emission energy solutions. Since 2000, Exxon Mobil has invested more than $7 billion to reduce its carbon footprint.
Not that the green extremists pulling the strings at the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund seem to care.
But one person who has had enough of the Rockefeller-financed lies about Exxon Mobil is Ariana Rockefeller, a fashion designer and great-great granddaughter of John. D. Rockefeller.
She called efforts by the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to attack Exxon Mobil “deeply misguided.”
“These family funds do not speak on behalf of all 200 family members,” Ariana Rockefeller told “CBS This Morning.” “I don’t think denouncing a family legacy is the best way to go about” combating climate change.
According to Ariana Rockefeller, the attacks against Exxon Mobil “are counterproductive to our goal of protecting the environment by undermining Exxon’s ongoing good work in clean and renewable energy.”
The assault is more than just counterproductive. It is a despicable, coordinated effort to undermine a private company that employs more than 30,000 Americans. Exxon Mobil goes so far as to call the collaboration to fund bogus stories, misstate facts, mislead the public, stoke opposition and launch a politically charged judicial investigation a “conspiracy.”
When asked if he was engaged in a conspiracy, David Kaiser, the fifth-generation Rockefeller and president of the Rockefeller Family Fund, didn’t deny that he was in cahoots with others to harm Exxon Mobil. Instead, he argued about the definition of the word “conspiracy.”
“For something to count as a conspiracy it can’t just have been done in concert with other people, it also has to be illegal and we haven’t done anything illegal,” Kaiser told CBS.
The Merriam-Webster defines a “conspiracy” as “a secret plan by a group to do something harmful.” By that definition, Kaiser and his green extremists cronies have been engaged in a conspiracy after all.
Even if the scheme by members of the Rockefeller family to attack Exxon Mobil isn’t illegal, coordinating an unscrupulous and inappropriate attack on an American company is, at the very, least unbecoming of one of our nation’s great families.
Drew Johnson is a a senior fellow at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to limited, responsible government.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.