On MSNBC Live, Andrea Mitchell discussed Sen. John McCain's call to end the moratorium on offshore oil drilling with RNC deputy chairman Frank Donatelli, but did not mention that Donatelli was a registered lobbyist for energy sector clients ExxonMobil and Dominion Resources before joining the RNC.
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Appearing on the June 17 edition of MSNBC Live to discuss Sen. John McCain's call to end the moratorium on offshore oil drilling, Frank Donatelli was identified by anchor and NBC News foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell only as the "deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee and a John McCain supporter." Mitchell did not note that, prior to his post at the RNC, Donatelli was a registered lobbyist for energy sector clients ExxonMobil Corp. (Page 7) and Dominion Resources.
Donatelli lobbied on behalf of Dominion from 2002 to 2007 while at McGuire Woods Consulting. In 2007, Donatelli was one of six McGuire Woods lobbyists listed as having represented Dominion for the following "[s]pecific lobbying issues": comprehensive energy bill, overall electricity legislation, offshore drilling legislation, tax legislation, and pipeline safety. In 2006, Donatelli was also one of five McGuire Woods lobbyists listed as having represented Dominion on the same issues. Senate lobbying records show that Donatelli lobbied on behalf of ExxonMobil from 1998 to 1999, while working for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.
On the June 9 edition of MSNBC Live, Mitchell discussed energy policy with former Sens. John Breaux (D-LA) and Trent Lott (R-MS) but failed to disclose that both are lobbyists for major oil and gas companies.
From the 1 p.m. ET hour of the June 17 edition of MSNBC Live:
MITCHELL: John McCain is in Texas today to deliver a major speech on the energy crisis. The senator is expected to push for offshore drilling in a state where oil is a multibillion-dollar industry. But the senator's plan might not resonate as well across the country. So, joining us now, Frank Donatelli, deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee and a John McCain supporter. Frank, good to see you.
DONATELLI: Hi, Andrea.
MITCHELL: Well, how does he straddle this issue of "you can have states permit offshore drilling," but he's still against drilling in Alaska. And he's -- doesn't he risk offending the environmentalists and not really satisfying the oil industry?
DONATELLI: Well, Andrea, I guess I would say that it's a balanced plan, but we have a crisis. We have $4 gasoline, heading even higher, and we have to do something about that. That's impacting our economy; it's hurting families. And what Sen. McCain has said for a long time is, in the long run, we need different sources of energy. We need green and new technologies.
On the other hand, we have a short- and medium-term problem, and part of the solution there is additional drilling to find additional oil and gas supplies in the United States. And the Outer Continental Shelf is the way to get some of those supplies to market fairly quickly. I would just note that it would require the concurrence of the states to drill off of their shores, but if you incentivize the states properly, this is a potential source to moderate gas prices.