Warren drags Tillerson into fight over SEC rule

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money — Democrats eye tough choices as deadline looms Under pressure, Democrats cut back spending Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program MORE (D-Mass.) blasted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday, criticizing his past lobbying efforts to exclude Exxon Mobil from a rule that would require it to disclose payments to foreign governments.

"[A] handful of powerful oil and gas companies have been after this requirement from the start — and Exxon is at the top of that list," Warren said on the Senate floor, as she spoke in opposition of the GOP effort to repeal Securities and Exchange Commission's extraction rule.

"In fact, Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon at the time, personally lobbied against the requirement in 2010. His reason? The foreign payments rule would undermine Exxon's ability to do business in Russia," she said.

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Tillerson's business connections with Russia have been a challenging obstacle for the former Exxon chief executive during his contentious confirmation fight in the Senate. He was confirmed Thursday.

Multiple high-ranking Democrats have questioned Tillerson's integrity, and expressed doubt about his abilities to genuinely represent the interests of the United States on the world stage in light of his business record. He received three confirmation votes from Democrats: Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Biden holds meetings to resurrect his spending plan Democrats feel high anxiety in Biden spending conflict Biden meets with Jayapal to kick off week of pivotal meetings MORE (Va.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWashington's oldest contact sport: Lobbyists scrum to dilute or kill Democrats' tax bill Progressives prepare to launch counterattack in tax fight Business groups aim to divide Democrats on .5T spending bill MORE (N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinK Street revenues boom Biden champions economic plan as Democrats scale back ambitions On The Money — Democrats eye tough choices as deadline looms MORE (W.Va.).

"Listen to that again: If Exxon has to tell the world about the millions of dollars it hands over to the Russian government, Exxon won't be able to do as much business in Russia," Warren continued. 

"So now the Republican Congress wants to rush in to help out poor Exxon so they can keep the secret money flowing to Russian officials," she charged.

In her speech, the lawmaker also slammed Republicans for their legislative effort, accusing the GOP of caring more about corporations than their own constituents.

"This Exxon giveaway shows just how bankrupt the Republican agenda is. They don't have any ideas for helping working families. It's just one corporate giveaway after another — making their big business donors happy and keeping the campaign contributions flowing for the next election," she argued.