Reuters did not note energy group criticizing Obama reportedly "funded by the oil industry"

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG & HANNAH DREIER

In an article about President-elect Barack Obama's emphasis on alternative energy production in his economic stimulus speech, Reuters quoted criticism of Obama's plan by Thomas Pyle of the Institute for Energy Research. However, the article did not mention the Institute for Energy Research's ties to the oil industry or that Exxon Mobil Corp. has funded the organization.

In a January 8 article about President-elect Barack Obama's emphasis on alternative energy production in his economic stimulus speech that day, Reuters wrote: "Not everyone cheered Obama's plan. Private companies could use domestic energy resources like oil and coal to create jobs without the hefty price tag for taxpayers, said Thomas Pyle of the Institute for Energy Research, in a statement." Reuters further quoted Pyle's assertion that "[t]he road to economic recovery will be paved with private sector investment, not government-sponsored asphalt." But the Reuters article did not note the Institute for Energy Research's own ties to "[p]rivate companies" with interests in "domestic energy resources like oil." In fact, the Institute's funders include the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, the president of which is an executive vice president of Koch Industries, whose subsidiaries "have been in the petroleum business since 1940." Further, Reuters previously reported that Exxon Mobil Corp. has funded the group. Indeed, according to a September 14, 2008, Washington Post article, the Institute is "funded by the oil industry."

According to Internal Revenue Service data compiled by mediatransparency.org -- a website recently acquired by Media Matters Action Network -- the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation donated $85,000 in grants to the Institute between 1997 and 2005. According to its IRS Form 990 for 2006 (accessed from the GuideStar database), the foundation donated an additional $25,000 to the Institute that year. According to his bio page on the website of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, of which he is president, Richard Fink is president and serves on the board of directors of the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. The bio also states that Fink is "an executive vice president and member of the board of directors of Koch Industries, Inc., where he leads the legal, government, community relations and communication capabilities for Koch Industries." Fink is listed as "President/Director" of the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation on the group's 2004, 2005, and 2006 IRS Form 990.

Koch Industries' website states:

Koch companies have been in the petroleum business since 1940, growing our refining capacity more than 80-fold. Today these companies engage in petroleum refining, chemicals and base oil production, crude oil supply, and wholesale marketing of fuels, base oils, petrochemicals, asphalt and other products.

Additionally, in a May 23, 2008, article, Reuters reported that "Exxon Mobil Corp is pulling contributions to several groups that have downplayed the risks that greenhouse gas-emissions could lead to global warming," including the Institute for Energy Research. Reuters further reported that Exxon Mobil Corp. "said in its corporate citizenship report that the groups' 'position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner.' " Indeed, in disclosing its "Worldwide Contributions and Community Investments," Exxon Mobil Corp. reported that Exxon and its foundation contributed $95,000 to the Institute in 2007 and contributed $65,000 in 2006.

Reuters has quoted Institute staff criticizing Obama's alternative energy proposals and energy-related appointments in three other articles during the past four months, each time failing to mention the organization's ties to the oil industry.

From the January 8 Reuters article:

The solar industry is ready to create jobs as soon as funding from the stimulus plan comes through -- in hard-hit manufacturing areas like Ohio and Michigan, said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

"The reality is what President-elect Obama is talking about are policies and incentives that will create jobs in all 50 states," Resch told Reuters.

Not everyone cheered Obama's plan. Private companies could use domestic energy resources like oil and coal to create jobs without the hefty price tag for taxpayers, said Thomas Pyle of the Institute for Energy Research, in a statement.

"The road to economic recovery will be paved with private sector investment, not government-sponsored asphalt," he said.

Posted In
Elections, Campaign Finance
Network/Outlet
Reuters
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