Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Monday, March 20, 2006


Air Joementum

In a recently released list of 192 federally elected officials who have accepted flights on corporate private jets, Joe Lieberman ranks 13th. And this one sounds particularly fishy:

Among them was a flight he took on Sept. 11, 2005, from Newark, N.J., to Minneapolis aboard a private plane owned by San Diego-based utility giant Sempra Energy. He reimbursed the company $1,271 for the round-trip, which took him from a 9/11 observance ceremony in New Jersey to political fundraisers in Minnesota.

A spokeswoman for Sempra Energy, whose commodities and energy trading offices are in Lieberman's hometown of Stamford, said the company did not receive many requests for travel.

"It's not a common thing we do," said Sempra's Jennifer Andrews, who noted that the company does not own but leases jets for travel.

Sempra has reportedly given $10,000 to Lieberman's PAC, and $20,250 to Lieberman's campaigns.

Even more, here's the list of Sempra employees and executives who have individually donated over $1,000 each to Friends of Joe Lieberman for the 2006 cycle:

Frank Gallipoli ($2,100)
Richard Holmes ($2,100)
Steven Prince ($2,100)
David Messer ($2,000)
Harrison Destefano ($2,000)
Jacqueline Mitchell ($2,000)
Robert Fellbogen ($2,000)
Neal Schmale ($1,000)
Joseph Kleinman ($1,000)

And an organization called the Sempra Energy Employees PAC - funded by some of the same individuals above - gave Lieberman another $5,000 on September 28th, 2005. Just seventeen days after flying him to Minneapolis on their corporate jet. Almost all of the individual contributions from Sempra employees and executives were dated September 30th, 2005, two days later.

And now Joe Lieberman says he's for lobbying reform? Yeah, right.

Update: Sempra does a lot of LNG business and was probably keen on seeing the Broadwater LNG project get built.

Perhaps this sheds some light on Joe's resistance to opposing Broadwater until very recently.

Update 2 : Almost every other politician in the region - Sens. Clinton, Schumer, Dodd, Reps. Shays, DeLauro, Simmons, and others - had opposed Broadwater in 2005 (according to this press release pdf), but Lieberman, that bastion of environmental integrity, was almost inexplicably holding out. In January 2006, he said this to say in an interview to the Advocate:

"I've worked hard to protect the Sound to me it's one of our great natural resources. I have said that I'm concerned about this proposal but frankly I didn't know enough about it yet to take a position... We have a real energy problem in this state, so I don't want to shut it out without thinking about [whether] it could provide additional energy resources to us that could lower the cost of energy in this state."

This just a few months after raking in tens of thousands in donations and accepting a corporate flight from a company with an active interest in expanding LNG operations across the country.
I used to work in sales for an energy company and some of the names of these Sempra Energy employees sounded familiar. In fact, Stephen Prince and David Messer run a division of Sempra called Sempra Commodities Trading (see this press release- http://www.sempra.com/perspective_030815_messerprince_trading.htm)

Essentially, these guys are trading oil in a *heavily regulated market*. The commodities trading unit of Enron is the one that went out of control and brought down the company with its below-the-board financial transactions
anon 2:24: please send me an email if you get the chance. thirdpartykos-at-yahoodotcom.
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