We’ve written before about the apparent conflicts of interest inherent with Colorado’s U.S. Senators, both of whom are married to high-powered players in the environmental movement.
Senator Michael Bennet’s wife, Susan Daggett, for example, has spent much of her career representing radical environmental groups like EarthJustice. She is currently the Interim Director of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute at DU’s Sturm College of Law.
Senator Mark Udall’s wife, Maggie Fox, is the CEO of the Climate Reality Project (CRP), a group founded and chaired by Al Gore, and which paid Ms. Fox a combined $500,000 over the course of 2010 and 2011 – significantly more than the $174,000 annual salary her husband collected as a U.S. Senator. We’d like to tell you what Ms. Fox made last year, but seven months into 2013, CRP’s has yet to release its 2012 IRS disclosure form – something we’re sure Lois Lerner and the boys at the branch office in Cincinnati are looking into.
In any event, Ms. Fox and CRP are openly involved in lobbying efforts on President Obama’s anti-coal push. CRP urges Americans to support the White House “climate change” agenda on its website, and Ms. Fox herself, no stranger to blowing green lobby smoke, compared carbon emissions to terrorism in a June statement. As Coloradans, we are used to seeing smoke – but we recently began to see fire.
A couple of weeks after Ms. Fox’s statement, the Washington, DC newspaper The Hill reported that Udall and a handful of other Democrat Senators met with a key White House energy adviser to discuss Obama administration climate change proposals in a session aimed in part at “getting the administration and lawmakers on the same page in advance of expected attacks from opponents.”
We aren’t surprised that enterprising lobby groups like CRP would pay top dollar to retain staff with unfettered access to a key lawmaker who is meeting with senior administration officials to shape energy and environmental policy. But what does surprise us is how little has been said about how unseemly it is for Ms. Fox to be demanding new restrictions on coal as her U.S. Senator husband works with other lawmakers and Obama administration officials to craft and properly message those very restrictions.
Call us cynical, but we highly doubt that the chattering class would be this reserved if Bush administration officials were working to ease restrictions on mining and drilling with a Colorado Republican lawmaker who was married to a key combatant in the fight — say, the CEO of a coal or oil company.
Since Senator Udall has so far been unwilling to publicly discuss the closed-door meeting he attended at the Capitol last week, Coloradans will just have to speculate about what was said and how it might impact the interests of the state — and the green lobby group his wife leads.