Big Oil, Big Lies

A new document shows that oil executives met with Cheney's secret task force in 2001

Published November 16, 2005 6:45PM (EST)

In what should be the least surprising news of the day, recently obtained documents show that back in 2001 top oil executives indeed met with Vice President Dick Cheneys energy task force -- something environmental groups and just about anyone with a brain long suspected.

Just last week the chief executives from oil companies testified before a Senate panel on whether or not the industry had been gouging customers -- an understandable concern considering that the five major oil companies saw a record $30 billion profit in the third quarter this year. During those hearings, executives from companies including Exxon Mobil, Chevron and BP America all denied having met with Cheneys task force.

They lied.

So what happens to people when they lie to United States senators? Well seeing as how the chairman of the hearings, the Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, chose not to swear in the executives, they conveniently wont be subject to charges of perjury. But it turns out that they could get fined or face up to five years in jail for their false statements. Unfortunately, the people who can least afford all of this corporate malfeasance are the U.S. citizens currently enduring high gas prices. Is Dick Cheney going to chair a task force to address that problem?

By J.J. Helland

J.J. Helland is Salon's editorial fellow in New York.

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