UPDATE: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ State-Paid Lobbyist Can’t Explain Keystone XL Pipeline Lobbying

Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN)

Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN)

Last week, ThinkProgress Green reported that Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN), joined the oil industry in lobbying Congress on behalf of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, using taxpayer dollars. Although the proposed pipeline does not go through Indiana, and few, if any, Indiana workers are expected to be employed in its construction, the state’s DC representatives received $66,000 from Indiana taxpayers to lobby Congress in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Citing the ThinkProgress Green report, House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) wrote one of those lobbyists yesterday, noting that her disclosed Keystone KL lobbying “seems unusual” as Indiana lacks any “obvious interest” in seeing the pipeline completed. In the letter, addressed to lobbyist Deborah Hohlt, Waxman “would appreciate the opportunity to learn about Indiana’s interests in the proposed Keystone XL pipeline” and requested a briefing from her.

“You’re kind of catching me off-guard,” Hohlt told Politico when asked about her tar-sands lobbying:

Hohlt had no answers when POLITICO contacted her Thursday, saying she still hadn’t seen Waxman’s letter. “You’re kind of catching me off-guard,” she said.

But Jane Jankowski, the press secretary for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, said Hohlt simply listed in her disclosure report “any topic she’s spoken about on behalf of the state.”

Gov. Daniels has talked about the need for the Keystone pipeline and issued a statement about it, which she passed on to our delegation, so she included it on her report,” Jankowski wrote.

Hohlt’s disclosure form lists the pipeline as one of four energy-related issues on which she lobbied both Congress and the Department of Energy.

A second lobbyist, Griffin Foster, also reported lobbying Congress and the Obama administration on the Keystone XL pipeline on Daniels’ behalf, over the same period.

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