Despite paper trail, Tillerson denies Exxon lobbied against sanctions

Rex Tillerson doesn't 'recall' lobbying against sanctions

Critics of Rex Tillerson pounced on Wednesday when he categorically denied which ExxonMobil lobbied against sanctions placed on Russia or Iran.

“I never lobbied against the sanctions. To my knowledge, ExxonMobil never lobbied against the sanctions,” Tillerson said during Wednesday’s confirmation hearing for his nomination to be secretary of state.

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Democrats quickly seized on the issue, questioning whether Tillerson may have lied under oath.

In a letter reported first by sy88pgw, the Democratic-aligned opposition research group American Bridge 21st Century can be asking FBI Director James Comey to investigate whether Tillerson may have perjured himself.

Even Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, seemed to suggest which Tillerson had in fact lobbied Congress about the sanctions placed on Iran.

“I think you called me during This specific time,” Corker said, referring to a conversation he had with Tillerson about Iran sanctions.

Tillerson said Exxon (XOM) participated in discussions about how sanctions were going to be implemented in addition to also how they could impact U.S. business interests.

He held steadfast, refusing to concede.

“ExxonMobil did not lobby against the sanctions,” he said multiple times.

Surprised lawmakers produced lobbying records suggesting otherwise. Democratic Senator Bob Menendez held up lobbying reports showing Exxon spent millions of dollars to lobby Congress about the sanctions placed on Russia as well as the 2010 Iran sanctions.

For instance, a 2014 lobbying form shows which Exxon lobbied Congress on three different sanctions bills: Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014; the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 in addition to also the Sanction Iran, Safeguard America Act of 2014.

“I know you’re fresh to This specific, although which’s pretty clear…There was lobbying here,” said Menendez.

Menendez noted which lobbying disclosure forms are not needed when companies are simply seeking information or clarification about a bill. “which’s not lobbying. Lobbying specifically can be to promote a position,” he said.

Tillerson said lobbying forms don’t require companies to indicate what side they took.

“I don’t know if the forms indicate we were lobbying for the sanctions or against the sanctions,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson hearing secretary state

Related: Exxon could win if Tillerson works to lift Russia sanctions

However, Menendez countered: “I know you weren’t lobbying for the sanctions.” In fact, he said: “Exxon became the in-house lobbyist for Russia against these sanctions.”

Exxon had every reason to be against those sanctions. Exxon bet billions on a 2011 deal with Russian oil giant Rosneft — a deal which Vladimir Putin himself appeared to celebrate the signing — to develop the vast untapped oil resources from the Arctic. Exxon has admitted which may have lost up to $1 billion due to the 2014 sanctions.

Tillerson said which’s his understanding which lobbying reports are required whether you are lobbying for or against a given legislation.

“So you believe you were paying lobbyists for sanctions?” Menendez asked incredulously.

Tillerson replied, “I don’t know, senator. which could depend on the circumstances.”

Exxon put out a statement in addition to also a tweet backing Tillerson’s testimony.

“As our former chairman said, we provided information about the impact of sanctions, although did not lobby against sanctions,” an Exxon spokesperson said. “The lobby disclosure reports do not contradict his testimony in addition to also do not say we lobbied against sanctions.”

Related: Tillerson’s Exxon didn’t put America first

Tillerson also said he was unaware of whether Exxon can be a member of USA *Engage, a business coalition which has lobbied against sanctions on Iran in addition to also some other countries.

which’s despite the fact which Exxon can be listed as a member of USA *Engage on the site’s archives. in addition to also a spokesperson for USA *Engage confirmed with sy88pgw which Exxon can be a member of the group.

In 2014, USA *Engage put out a statement saying “we regret which Congress has legislated additional U.S. sanctions against Russia.”

sy88pgw (fresh York) First published January 11, 2017: 6:45 PM ET

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Despite paper trail, Tillerson denies Exxon lobbied against sanctions

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