Politics

Giuliani’s Law Firm Led Effort To Kill Senate Energy Bill

Yesterday on NBC’s Meet the Press, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said that he wouldn’t “sever” his “financial ties” to his consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, if he becomes president. “No, I’m an owner,” said Giuliani. He assured host Tim Russert that his ties won’t be a problem because he would “live up to whatever ethical or legal obligations are required.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/12/giulianimtpbracewell.320.240.flv]

Yet Giuliani has so far been unable to separate his campaign positions from his business interests. Giuliani is one of the utility companies’ strongest supporters. Perhaps not surprisingly, his law firm, Bracewell & Giluliani LLP was hired by these groups to lead the intense lobbying against the Senate energy bill, which would have forced utility companies to “boost electricity generated by wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy to 15 percent of the U.S. total by 2020.”

While Giuliani has stepped down as head of his law firm, he continues to “retain his equity stake in the company.” Last year, the firm paid him about $4 million, and he has collected $89,000 in contributions from Bracewell partners and employees.

A look at how Giuliani’s campaign has benefited from his law firm’s ties to the energy industry:

— Giuliani’s campaign has collected more than $400,000 from employees of companies in the oil, gas, and energy industries.

— In August, Giuliani spoke to “representatives of the coal industry at a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser…saying, ‘We have to increase our reliance on coal‘ in the future.”

Scott Segal, a Bracewell lobbyist, “is director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, an industry group that focuses on air- quality issues and includes Southern Co., Progress Energy Inc. and other utilities.” Southern Co. hired Bracewell to lead the lobbying campaign against the Senate bill.

Bracewell and Giuliani also recently dropped its contract to “lobby Texas legislators on behalf of Citgo Petroleum Corp., a Houston-based oil company ultimately controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.”

UPDATE: Ari Berman at The Nation and Adam Siegel at Energy Smart have more.

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Transcript:

RUSSERT: But I’m talking about — let’s talk about your –Giuliani Partners.

GIULIANI: The consulting firm, just about every single client…

(CROSSTALK)

RUSSERT: But why not put out a list to make…

GIULIANI: Because you also have, in some cases, some have gotten out where there were confidentiality agreements, but they’ve gotten out for other reasons.

RUSSERT: But you are still receiving money from your firm.

GIULIANI: But I’m not involved in the day-to-day operations. I’m an owner.

RUSSERT: But you’re receiving money, and people could sign up for your company in order to influence you if you became president. Why not just sever ties and put out a list of all your clients?

GIULIANI: Well, first of all, I couldn’t do that. I mean, I couldn’t put out a list of all my clients. There are confidentiality agreements that surround the relationship that businesses have with law firms, in particular, in some cases with security firms. So I can’t do that.

All I can tell you is the following. I can tell you that every client of GP of any significance while I was there, while I was involved in the day-to-day operations of it, has been discussed. A significant number of the Bracewell Giuliani clients have been discussed. And the reality is that none of them amount to anything other than ethical, lawful, decent work done by both companies, sometimes of the highest standards, always ethical and decent, and none of them involve any kind of conflict of any kind. And as we go along, we will explore more of it.

RUSSERT: You won’t sever your ties, your financial ties, with your company?

GIULIANI: No, I’m an owner. I mean, I severed every…

RUSSERT: But while you…

GIULIANI: I severed every tie I can thing of. I’ll live up to whatever ethical or legal obligations are required. We do all the financial disclosures. I did a very complete financial disclosure, I think it was in May. I’ll do some more complete financial disclosures.

But I’m not going to do more than what is absolutely required, and we’ll go further than that.