Dear Mr. McAuliffe:
They have accused me of “false attacks” and “Rovian” tactics. I’ve been accused of “misrepresenting” your position. I’ve also been fingered as a supporter of your opponent Brian Moran. I am not. (At this point, I’m still trying to decide whether or not I will vote for Mr. Moran or Creigh Deeds.)
That said, you may very will be the nominee of my party and you very well may become my governor.
That’s why I am writing you.
I have reviewed your 20 page energy plan and there are many good ideas included in it, but you have made no mention of your position on offshore drilling. There is not one word about the topic. That’s rather worrisome to me. (I’ve stated my reasons for opposition to drilling for gas and oil here.)
Given that the GOP’s nominee for Governor and Lt. Governor have made their support for offshore drilling central to their energy plans, I’m deeply concerned that you’ve omitted your views on this subject.
Your supporters assure me that in fact you are opposed to offshore drilling. Mr. Elleithee pointed to a newspaper article from before you were a candidate where you indicated that you favor exploration offshore for natural gas but not oil.
That’s great, but now that you are a candidate your energy plan doesn’t address the issue.
Was this an oversight?
Was this intentional?
What do you think the people at Shell Oil and Exxon Mobil have to say about this omission on your part? What signal does this send Exxon, Shell and other oil companies? (Shell, as you know, has already conducted exploratory drilling off the coast of our state. In recent years, they’ve had four lobbyists representing the company before the General Assembly.)
Separately, the U.S. Department of Interior asked for public comment in a key proceeding which will determine whether future drilling proceeds. The U.S. Navy, NASA and Congressman Jim Moran all filed comments opposing drilling. So did your opponent, Brian Moran. You and Creigh Deeds failed to file comments in this proceeding.
As the Department of Interior reviews these comments, your voice was not heard. Your vote goes uncounted. While statements of opposition to a newspaper reporter are nice, they don’t carry the weight of the law. Under the law, the Department of Interior must consider comments filed in its regulatory docket. They are free to ignore what you have said on the campaign trail.
I’ve posed these same questions to the campaign of Creigh Deeds. Interestingly, no one supporting Mr. Deeds or on the staff of his campaign have responded to my questions. They aren’t accusing me of false attacks. Why are your supporters and your employee Mr. Elleithee doing so?
I’ve reviewed the campaign finance records of the Democratic National Committee as posted on OpenSecrets.org during your chairmanship and I’ve found that under your leadership, the DNC received a considerable amount of money from oil and natural gas companies and their employees. From this group:
- In the 2000 cycle, the DNC raised $3,786,170.
- In the 2002 cycle, the DNC raised $1,248, 810.
- In the 2004 cycle, the DNC raised $1,291,167.
- In the 2006 cycle, the DNC raised $295,757.
Now your chairmanship ran from 2000 to 2005, so I know not all this money was raised on your watch, but at least $2.5 million was. Probably the true number is closer to 3 or 4 million.
I’ve also reviewed the 1st quarter reports as analyzed by the Virginia Public Access Project. All told, those employed by oil companies and refineries gave nearly $20,000 to candidates running for Governor of Virginia. Not surprisingly, the campaign of Republican Bob McDonnell received some of this money — about 12% of those funds.
Guess who raised the remaining 88% of that money, Mr. McAuliffe? It was wasn’t Brian Moran or Creigh Deeds, it was you. And guess where most of it came from Mr. McAuliffe? Not Virginia. You raised it from people who live in Texas and Massachusetts who can’t vote for you.
All of this raises questions in my mind of just how serious your opposition to offshore drilling really is. Is your lack of participation in the Department of Interior comment cycle and the lack of any statement on offshore drilling in your 20 page energy plan really a wink and nod to the representatives of Big Oil who favor your campaign over those of the other three candidates?
There are three things you can do to ease my mind and make me rest easier about the prospects of offshore drilling should you become Governor:
- File comments in the Department of Interior’s proceeding expressing your opposition to offshore drilling. The comment period is still open and awaits your input.
- Amend your energy plan to include a policy statement explicitly opposing offshore drilling.
- Return the contributions your campaign has received from the employees of Big Oil.
It would also serve you well to admonish Mr. Elleithee for his behavior. Repeatedly he has dodged my questions of him about this matter yet attacks me indirectly in a public forum, claiming that I am a supporter of Brian Moran. I am not. (What he does is attack employees of the Moran campaign for repeating my questions to you, yet he leaves my questions unanswered and criticizes the Moran campaign for repeating them)
As I said to Mr. Elleithee via Twitter earlier today: “You can ignore me, but you can’t ignore the truth: McAuliffe doesn’t have ONE word about offshore drilling in his energy plan.”
You can fix that Mr. Auliffe. You can and you should.