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Warren drags Tillerson into fight over SEC rule

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPorter loses seat on House panel overseeing financial sector OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Nine, including former Michigan governor, charged over Flint water crisis | Regulator finalizes rule forcing banks to serve oil, gun companies | Trump admin adds hurdle to increase efficiency standards for furnaces, water heaters DeVos mulled unilateral student loan forgiveness as COVID-19 wracked economy: memo 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 WarnerSocial media posts, cellphone data aid law enforcement investigations into riots 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate Confirmation hearing for Biden's DNI pick postponed MORE (Va.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampHarrison seen as front-runner to take over DNC at crucial moment Biden to tap Vilsack for Agriculture secretary: reports OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA guidance may exempt some water polluters from Supreme Court permit mandate | Vilsack's stock rises with Team Biden | Arctic wildfires linked to warming temperatures: NOAA MORE (N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster Manchin: Removing Hawley, Cruz with 14th Amendment 'should be a consideration' 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate 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.