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View Diary: Corruption scandal brewing at Clinton State Dept. over Tar Sands Review (246 comments)

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  •  A different perspective on Mr. Elliott's role... (1+ / 0-)
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    From Ben Smith in Politico...

    The emails do seem to indicate that he was personal friends with the official, one Marja Verloop, and I'm not dismissing the claim that she seemed to be sympathetic to a project that, in fact, the Administration supports.

    But I couldn't help being struck by the extrapolation in this Times story, which echoes environmental groups' claims of his influence:

    Before he was TransCanada’s chief Washington lobbyist, Paul Elliott was a top official in Mrs. Clinton’s failed 2008 presidential campaign.

    (The Times earlier wrote of Elliott: "Its principal lobbyist is a man named Paul Elliott. Remember him? He was a deputy director of Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign three years ago.")

    Actually, you would be forgiven for not remembering Elliott from the campaign.  I covered the campaign, and have also known Elliott casually from his time in New York politics, where he worked for Carl McCall and Bill Mulrow, as well as for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and had forgotten he worked on Clinton's campaign, much less that he served as a "top official."

    One of the handful of people who ran Clinton's campaign didn't remember either when I inquired just now about Elliott's role. Another reminded me: Elliott worked under Harold Ickes on the campaign's ill-fated delegate operation.

    "Paul Elliott wasn't considered a top official by anyone on the campaign, and no idea where deputy campaign director title is coming from," a third former Clinton campaign aide emails. "He was one of three main people who helped oversee our delegate program. NYT and others are overstating his influence on the campaign and thus the influence he would have with State."

    So while the lobbying story is certainly interesting, the claims that TransCanada has some secret line to Clinton-land seem a bit overstated.

    With that said, I expect the pipeline to go through not because of any lobbying effort put on by big oil, but because the administration is much more concerned about jobs in the short term.  I'm not saying I would agree with that decision, though I'm much more split on it than people here.

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