Lobbyist Gephardt

Adam Terando noticed something about the last post on global warming and Barack Obama.  Dick Gephardt is lobbying for Peabody Energy, the world's largest private coal company.  That's rather surprising, but also illuminating.  It's pretty disgusting what Big Coal wants.

But coal executives anticipate potentially huge profits. Gregory H. Boyce, chief executive of Peabody Energy, based in St. Louis, which has $5.3 billion in sales, told an industry conference nearly two years ago that the value of Peabody's coal reserves would skyrocket almost tenfold, to $3.6 trillion, if it sold all its coal in the form of liquid fuels.

Coal industry lobbying has reached a fever pitch. The industry spent $6 million on federal lobbying in 2005 and 2006, three times what it spent each year from 2000 through 2004, according to calculations by Politicalmoneyline.com.

Peabody, which has quadrupled its annual lobbying budget to about $2 million since 2004, recently hired Richard A. Gephardt, the Missouri Democrat who was House majority leader from 1989 to 1995 and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and 2004, to help make its case in Congress.

One of the most vociferous champions of coal-to-liquid fuels is the Southern States Energy Board, a group organized by governors from 16 states. Last year, the group published a study, which cost $500,000, that concluded that coal-to-liquid fuel could and should replace almost one-third of imported oil by 2030.

As it happens, the coal industry supplied much of the financing for the study and subsequent marketing. Peabody Energy contributed about $150,000 and the National Mining Association added $50,000, officials at the Southern States Energy Board said.

The inducements under discussion would not only subsidize up to 10 coal-to-liquid plants, but also guarantee a minimum market through long-term contracts with the Air Force and minimum prices for at least some producers.

"There is financial uncertainty, which is inhibiting the flow of private capital into the construction of coal-to-liquid facilities," said Mr. Boucher, who supports most of the proposals and is drafting portions of the energy bill.

In addition to construction loan guarantees, Mr. Boucher would protect the first six liquid plants from drops in energy prices. If oil prices fell below about $40 a barrel, the government would automatically grant loans to the first six plants that make coal-based fuels. If oil prices climbed to $80 a barrel, companies would have to pay a surcharge to the government.

Peabody is one of the most aggressive union-busting outfits out there.  Over the last fifteen years, the company systematically shut down union mines and replaced production with non-union mines.  Right now, there's a Justice at Peabody campaign aimed at mines in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Gephardt made much of his political career based on standing up for labor, and in particular his 1988 campaign and his top showing in Iowa.  But there was another side to Gephardt, which showed in his opposition to the minimum wage, his anti-choice stances, his support of Reagan's tax cuts in 1981, and his backing of fast track in 1991, which led to NAFTA.  Gephardt was and is, like most Democrats of that era, weak, untrustworthy, and disloyal.  It's important to note that people like Gephardt are deeply corrupted because they still have a lot of influence within the party.

Gephardt should not be respected.  He's a nice man, a genial person, and very experienced.  But he has no moral compass whatsoever.  When you work for a carbon spewing union-busting corporation just to make a few extra dollars in a high priced lobbying outfit, well, that's DC for you.  But when you do it after a long career pretending to being the true voice of labor, that's the 1980s and 1990s Coelho-ified Democratic Party.

And for 50 bonus points, guess which Presidential campaign Gephardt is advising on policy issues.

Update [2007-5-29 13:59:54 by Matt Stoller]: And here's the answer.

Sperling, who was top White House official, and former Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman are playing leading roles in the Clinton campaign, organizing meetings for the candidate on a wide range of topics. Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt is also actively engaged with the campaign.

It's interesting how the consensus in the comments was that Gephardt would be advising the Obama campaign. Perhaps this should be a sign that Obama isn't differentiating himself particularly well.

Tags: Dick Gephardt, energy bill, Energy Savings Act, S 1321, Senate Energy Committee (all tags)



Re: Lobbyist Gephardt
Stumped, I can't find anything on which 2008 presidential candidate Gephardt is advising.
by robliberal 2007-05-29 09:43AM | 0 recs
I know!

Why do I have to Google it?  Can't you just tell us?  I'm assuming this is an Obama slam...but I'm not sure.

by rashomon 2007-05-29 09:49AM | 0 recs
Dollar Bill Jefferson doesn't look so bad now

What Dollar Bill Jefferson did was more stupid than bad relative to the actions of other politicians. Don't get me wrong. I was pissed he got reelected too. But there is moral corruption which to me is as bad as corrruption determined legally. Gephart and many others are morally corrupt. They will pimp themselves for a few more dollars. They are political whores. Maybe Dollar Bill Jefferson of Lousiana took that bribe because he didnt have the contacts needed to lobby successfully upon his future retirement.

by Pravin 2007-05-29 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt

My guess is that since Plouffe was a senior Gephardt advisor and since Cassandra Butts is an ex-Gephardt staffer and since Bill Burton is also ex-Gephardt, and since the rest of Team Obama is Tom Daschle Central these days, the smart money is on Obama being the beneficiary of the Gephardt political advice largesse.

by Peter from WI 2007-05-29 09:46AM | 0 recs

But Steve Murphy (campaign manager from 2004) is on the Richardson team.

Steve Murphy: Murphy is a founding partner of Murphy Putnam Media, a premiere Washington media consulting firm. Murphy was Dick Gephardt's National Campaign Manager in 2003-2004 and managed his Iowa caucus campaign in 1988.

Also, IIRC, Cassandra Butts and Obama are friends from law school, so I'm not sure that counts as a Gephardt pick up.

by rashomon 2007-05-29 09:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt

I found a nice resource of who is on Team Obama.

I should also say that I think this might be going a little too far...

I haven't seen definitive proof that Dick Gephardt is advising the Obama campaign.  While I think Obama's team includes far too many people that are the same kind of 1990s Democrats as we've had around for far too long, and his policy stances and political approach are starting to reflect that, it's unfair to use innuendo and rumor to make some kind of point.

by Peter from WI 2007-05-29 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt
People assume your passive/aggressive digs are directed at Obama whether or not they really are. Not sure it has anything to do with Obama's inability to differentiate himself. May have more to do with your earlier post about Obama and coal.
by demondeac 2007-05-29 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt

It has to do with an inability to engage in good faith discussion.  It's never the candidate's fault, it's always the messenger.

by Matt Stoller 2007-05-29 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt

I'm still looking for any proof Gephardt has done advising for him. If he has. We'll that's not good. But since you haven't pointed to any proof that shows Gephardt advised Obama I think it's purely B.S. It's  fine to disagree with someone. I think CTL is a horrible idea for example and I don't like a lot of stuff he Obama says. But you can't just make things up.

I enjoy reading you're work a lot Matt but you don't have much credibility in my eyes of you makes things up like Gephardt advising Obama. So either apologize or give any proof that Gephardt has advised Barack Obama directly on any sort of policy.

by Populista 2007-05-29 10:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt

Read the update.  I didn't claim that Gephardt advised Obama.

The campaign he's advising is Clinton.  Clinton.

You're such a fool.

by Matt Stoller 2007-05-29 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt

Barack Obama is the only candidate you mentioned in you're post and you linked to a post rightfully bashing Obama for his position on CTL.

You implied Gephardt was advising Clinton on policy.  That article claims that "Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt is also actively engaged with the campaign" it doesn't say anything about policy. Yes I know the article is about economic policy but the article doesn't say anywhere that Gephardt was advising Clinton on policy.

And besides. It's an article. No proof or confirmation from the Clinton Camp. If I was a writer and wrote for MarketWatch and said that someone was advising someone else it wouldn't make it true.

Gee. Thanks, I love it when people call me a fool.

I was wrong. I'm sorry.

by Populista 2007-05-29 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt

Want to give a morsel of proof that Gephardt is advising Obama?

If I had a former House Majority Leader advising me I wouldn't stay shut up about it.

by Populista 2007-05-29 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt

Gephardt still has a lot of friends in Congress but is there any reason to think his advice is worth much on winning a presidential campaign??  If he wrote a book about 2004 it might be titled "How to Start in First & Finish Fourth Without Anybody Noticing" or about 1988"Bounce,  What Bounce? How To Win Iowa and Lose Everywhere Else"

Anyway, I have no idea who he is advising and care even less.  Oh, and I like Dick Gephardt, at least he knows which baseball team he likes best, and he never flip-flops on that.

by howardpark 2007-05-29 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt

Oooh, burn...

by Ernst 2007-05-29 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt

Oh, Daddy, won't you take me back to Muehlenberg County,
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay,
Well, I'm sorry, my son, but you're too late in asking,
Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away.

--"Paradise", by John Prine

by origamiguy 2007-05-29 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt

It's quite depressing that all these comments are about Obama and not about Gephardt working with a union-busting company that is trying to make global warming much much worse.

by adamterando 2007-05-29 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt

Being a lobbyist is not always bad.  There are many worthy causes.  And coal liquifaction could be one of them.  The technology to convert coal to liquid hydrocarbon is called Fisher-Troph.  If liquification of coal is coupled with electricity production or for hydrogen production  all of the CO2 produced could in principle be captured and sequestered.  Burning coal, oil or natural gas to produce electricity releases the CO2 to the atmosphere and it is much more difficult to capture it.  True it will make megabucks for the coal companies but what the heck that is the way capitalism works.  For all of the hype out there for hydrogen fuel, this is the only process that could produce the H2 without producing comparable amounts of CO2.
by syvanen 2007-05-29 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Lobbyist Gephardt

It's not just the CTL, it's working for Peabody.

by adamterando 2007-05-29 12:48PM | 0 recs
Bill details

What we're talking about, for future reference, is S 1321, which was concocted by Energy (chairman Bingaman) and reported out on May 7.

by skeptic06 2007-05-30 03:24AM | 0 recs


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