Senate Dems Try To Beef Up Staff For Potential Probes Of Energy Companies

(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

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Jack McEvoy Energy & Environment Reporter
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Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee are attempting to employ a “climate policy expert” and staffers who have previously investigated fossil fuel companies, indicating that the committee is gearing up to probe energy companies.

Committee Democrats are looking to hire an oversight director who has experience investigating fossil fuel firms’ “dark money” influence campaigns as well as a staffer who has a “deep” understanding of climate change policy, according to job postings listed on the Senate website. Incoming Democratic Chair Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who has consistently pushed for climate legislation, previously said that he wants to investigate fossil fuel companies’ alleged “disinformation” campaigns, as Democrats on the House Oversight Committee had done previously, E&E News reported. (RELATED: ‘Ugly Asterisk’: House Democrat Takes A Victory Lap After Helping Kill Manchin’s Energy Bill)

“Ideal candidates will have experience working on corporate accountability issues, particularly with respect to the fossil fuel industry, climate change, and identifying sources of dark money in political influencing campaigns,” the oversight listing reads.

The committee is also looking to employ an economist who can advise the committee on climate policy and “pollution-related matters.”

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 10: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) speaks at the confirmation hearing for Neera Tanden, nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), before the Senate Budget Committee on February 10, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

“I think you can dig into some of the work like what Ro Khanna was doing on the House side to expose some of the dissembling by our fossil fuel friends,” Whitehouse told reporters in December, E&E News reported.

In October 2021, Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna of California and Carolyn Maloney of New York began investigating some of the largest fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil and Chevron, as well as two leading trade organizations for alleged misinformation campaigns about climate change, according to Reuters. The Democrats said that energy companies enlisted public relations firms to help them obfuscate their climate impacts, according to E&E News.

Whitehouse’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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