'Love Affair' Continues as Former Sen. Landrieu Joins Keystone XL Lobby Firm
During her time in office, Landrieu pushed hard for the tar sands pipeline and openly advocated for other fossil fuel extraction projects
In another instance of the "revolving door" between business and politics, it was announced on Tuesday that former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who often distinguished herself as Democrat who openly supported the interests of the Big Oil, will be joining the lobbying firm Van Ness Feldman, which represents some of the industry's worst offenders.
Sen. Landrieu, in a failed attempt to secure reelection during last year's runoff vote, pushed for the Senate to force the passage of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. After the announcement Tuesday, observers quickly noted that Van Ness Feldman represents TransCanada, the Canada-based energy company behind the pipeline.
"I am proud to join Van Ness Feldman," Landrieu said in a statement. "I have always respected the firm and worked closely with them during my 18 years in the Senate." She will be joining the firm as a Senior Policy Advisor, charged with advising clients on "various public policy, strategic, and regulatory issues with an emphasis on energy, natural resources, and infrastructure matters."
Responding to the news, Alex Lazar with the money-in-politics disclosure site OpenSecrets.org noted that "the love affair has been mutual."
"In the 2014 election cycle," Lazar continues, "Van Ness gave more money to Landrieu in both total donations ($14,350) and from its PAC ($7,500) than to any other member of Congress; the former senator, who lost her seat in a December runoff, collected about 17 percent of the $129,800 the firm’s PAC and employees gave out."
Further, Intercept journalist Lee Fang reports:
Landrieu also worked to expedite the approval of liquified natural gas export terminals, another contentious issue. Landrieu sponsored legislation to expedite the LNG approval process and specifically pushed for individual projects, including the Sempra Cameron LNG facility in Louisiana. Van Ness Feldman has a large practice on LNG issues and lobbied for approval of several LNG export terminals, including the Sempra facility touted by Landrieu.
Though laws prohibit Landrieu from lobbying Congress for two years after her tenure ended in January 2015, she told the Times-Picayune that in the interim she can "lobby members of the executive branch, and is free to provide Van Ness Feldman clients with strategic advice."
Further, "Landrieu said the job will provide her with the 'flexibility' to continue her work for the Walton Family Foundation, advocating on education issues, such as support for charter schools in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and nationally."