Exxon Mobil discourages media coverage of ALEC funding

This brochure promoting TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline was distributed at a recent ALEC conference. The company says it's not a member of ALEC but that it sponsored an "ice cream social" event at the meeting.

This brochure promoting TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline was distributed at a recent ALEC conference. TransCanada said it’s not a member of ALEC but that it sponsored an “ice cream social” event at the meeting. Photo courtesy of Nick Surgey, Center for Media and Democracy.

Exxon Mobil says there is “no story” for reporters to tell about its funding for the American Legislative Exchange Council – a non-profit organization that connects lobbyists with American state legislators on secretive committees that draft model laws in a wide range of public policy issues.

Exxon Mobil also requested to speak to an editor from the Toronto Star to explain why there was “no story.”

The company said that it doesn’t deny climate change.

A new story about ALEC was published by the Toronto Star on Saturday and you can find it here.

ALEC, which has existed for more than 40 years, is allowed to give charitable tax receipts to its corporate members. These companies pay thousands of dollars for membership every year.

In August, the council held an annual meeting that included several workshops that denied some scientific evidence about global warming. One of the workshops was organized to instruct politicians “how to think and talk about climate and energy issues.”

A presenter at that workshop, Marc Morano, later praised ALEC for “fostering open debate” about climate change.

A new report released this weekend by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said: “Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.”

When asked about its support for ALEC a few days after that meeting, an Exxon Mobil spokesman declined to answer questions claiming it wasn’t a member.

Those comments can be found here and also within this story over here.

Several weeks later, Exxon Mobil said it gave this incorrect information to the media because of “confusion” surrounding the definition of ALEC members. Exxon Mobil said that this was due to ALEC’s statement on its website that it’s run for and by state legislators.

Since that time, Exxon Mobil has declined to answer questions about whether it filled out the “membership” form for corporations – that can be found through the ALEC website – or whether it didn’t understand that this was a “membership” form.

Instead of answering these questions, a spokesman for Exxon Mobil suggested that other people were misleading reporters about ALEC.

“You’re being played by the environmentalists who unsuccessfully tried to peddle this line of attack to… other legitimate (media) outlets,” said the spokesman in an email. “None of which took the bait after they were educated on the facts.”

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