Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 23, 2014

Keystone XL Lobbying: Timing of Donations to Senators Disclosed

Five U.S. senators received donations from a firm that was hired to promote the Keystone XL pipeline within a month of their aides’ having met with a representative of that firm, the Toronto Star reports:

Kelly Bingel, a well-connected lobbyist with Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc. in Washington, D.C., met with members of the staff of 20 U.S. senators between March and May 2013 to “better articulate the benefit of Alberta’s energy resource development,” according to documents filed with the U.S. Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Five of those meetings, the documents show, occurred around the same time that Bingel handed over political contributions to those five senators’ campaign committees.

At least three of the donations took place between March and April of 2013, during which time the firm had a contract with provincial Alberta, Canada, government to promote the pipeline, the Star reported.

The news outlet did not identify a direct connection between the donations and the lobbying effort.

The newspaper said that Kay Hagan, D-N.C., Mark Udall, D-Colo., Max Baucus, D-Mont., and two other senators received donations within a month of meetings between aides and Bingel. More from the Star:

While not illegal, such contributions, consumer advocates say, underscore the cozy relationship between lobbyists and members of Congress on Capitol Hill.

“It’s both highly unethical and business as usual,” Craig Holman, the government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a public advocacy group based in Washington, told the Star. “There are a couple of influence peddling tools that K Street lobbyists can afford employing, and one of them is making campaign contributions and bundling contributions to those who they are trying to influence.”

  • alexis betancourt

    Where are the names of the Republican Senators they donated to?

  • laru

    In other news Tom Steyer is contributing $100,000,000.00 to anti-pipeline Democrats.

  • Gene McManus

    At the end of the piece. Read it.

  • Gene McManus

    OF COURSE! these are not bribes. Those Senators were favorably inclined toward the pipeline before the lobbyist called.

    The US has the best government money can buy.

  • colsooonscoorner

    Well if you don’t like it make it illegal. Throw a fuss, even deaf ears can catch the wind.

  • neil

    Of course it is not “highly unethical” for elected officials to have a mcozy relationship with Mr. Craig Holman, lobbyist for Public Citizen or with Tom Steyer and his $100 million for Democrat candidates.

  • ceithor

    Thanks to the Supreme Court, we sure do!

  • ceithor

    You have the Republican Supreme Court to thank for that!

  • Charles Barnard

    If we get the government we deserve, we are in deep.

  • Charles Barnard

    Business as usual part. Fight money with money.

  • Charles Barnard

    Your logic please?

    Remembering that ‘legal,’ ‘ethical,’ and ‘moral’ are not in any way synonymous.

    ‘ethical’ and ‘professional politician’ and ‘con-man’ have some sort of complex relationship which has one constant–you seldom find the first in either of the others.

  • Carroll Barber

    Send in the crazies; thin out the herd! :)

  • YONATAN C

    Whatever happened to the more than three million unemployed families without an unemployment extension since late last December? We’re STILL here, and have not gone away. Although both political parties have chosen to walk away, We’re still here struggling and falling deeper into poverty and financial ruin. While the republicans fought ferociously in the senate for the Koch Brother’s oil pipeline bill to be passed, and congress approving billions of Aid dollars for the Ukraine, and more billions for the illegal migrant problem, we Americans are still here without help, and without compassion from our so called elected officials. Both political parties have utterly FAILED these unemployed families, who once believed in the system, and had contributed to it throughout the years from their paychecks. We have now become ignored, and forgotten, and no longer “newsworthy enough” to make a difference to their political agenda and image. The coming elections will bring many surprises for these so called “public servants”. The voters will not forget. Money seems to be able to buy just about everything in Washington, including integrity.

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