Republicans seek full tape behind Exxon sting
Republicans this week asked for more details on the sting operation linked to an Exxon Mobil lobbyist amid increased scrutiny of the company by Democrats.
In a letter sent Thursday obtained by The Hill, Reps. James Comer (Ky.) and Ralph Norman (S.C.) asked for a full, unedited video and transcript of the undercover interview that a group called Unearthed conducted with Exxon Mobil lobbyist Keith McCoy.
“It is critical that the American people view the interview in its entirety before forming any judgments on the veracity, context, and scope of the statements made therein,” wrote Comer and Norman, the top Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and its Environment Subcommittee respectively.
Democrats on the Oversight and Reform Committee, including Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), have recently requested an interview with McCoy after the lobbyist said on tape that Exxon Mobil “aggressively” fought against science on climate change.
The Republicans in their letter added that as Democrats probe Exxon Mobil, members should “have the opportunity to view the entire interview as part of this investigation.”
The lawmakers added that the version of the interview posted to the group’s website creates an “incomplete record of the conversation.”
In response to the letter, Unearthed editor Damian Kahya didn’t say whether the group would abide by the Republicans’ request, instead saying in a statement that it will “continue to consider what further journalistic disclosures would be in the public interest and fair to the relevant parties.”
Kahya also defended the reporting done by the organization, which is affiliated with Greenpeace UK.
“Unearthed has published a fair reflection of the substance of the conversation that we held with Mr McCoy, verified by our media partners. We stand by our reporting and note that it has led to a full apology from both Mr McCoy and Exxon’s CEO,” he said.
Asked about the GOP push, key Democrats on the Oversight panel argued that the move diverted attention from the actual issue.
“We are focused on holding fossil fuel companies accountable for the decades they deceived the public about the reality and the danger of climate change. The American people deserve answers about the role these companies played in delaying action to solve the climate crisis,” said a joint statement from Maloney and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Environment Subcommittee.
“Some of our colleagues are missing the point and trying to divert attention from these important issues. We invite our colleagues to see the bigger picture and join us in holding polluters accountable,” they added.
In tapes recorded by the group, McCoy said that the company fought some of the science on climate change.
An audio recording of the encounter was reviewed by The Hill.
“Did we aggressively fight against some of the science? Yes. Did we hide our science? Absolutely not. Did we join some of these shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts? Yes that’s true,” he was recorded saying.
Both McCoy and the company’s CEO later apologized, with CEO Darren Woods saying that the comments “in no way” represent the company’s position on issues including climate change.