1 Jul 2021

ExxonMobil lobbying tactics ‘used against’ climate legislation are ‘shameful’, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says

Washington Correspondent

Leading Democrat Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said covert footage, broadcast by Channel 4 News, revealing ExxonMobil’s lobbying tactics against climate legislation, is “shameful”.

Senior ExxonMobil lobbyist Keith McCoy was captured on camera by Greenpeace UK’s investigative unit Unearthed describing how the oil giant is using its power and influence to water down US climate legislation.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez told this programme the revelations bring “a lot of shame to our work as public servants”.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez said: “What is also, I think, particularly explosive about this is that a lot of people believe… there is this dark underbelly of Washington that works this way. Rarely do we see it exposed in real time on current legislation right before us in Congress.”

ExxonMobil’s chief executive Darren Wood apologised for Mr McCoy’s statements adding that the company is “deeply apologetic for them, including comments regarding interactions with elected officials”.

Mr Wood also insisted Mr McCoy “was not involved in developing the company’s policy positions on the issues”.

Mr McCoy also released a statement saying he was “deeply embarrassed” by his comments that included claims the company “aggressively” fought climate science to protect their “investments” and “shareholders”.

Speaking to an undercover reporter on a Zoom call in May, Mr McCoy listed a number of senators that he said were “crucial” to ExxonMobil’s lobbying strategy with Democrat Senator Joe Manchin dubbed the “Kingmaker”.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez told Channel 4 News: “There is a widespread crisis of confidence and crisis of faith in our institutions because they think that the majority of elected officials answer to corporate lobbyists first and their constituents second.

“That is not a democracy.”

In our interview with Ms Ocasio-Cortez, we began by asking for her reaction to our ExxonMobil revelations.