Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Katie Porter

U.S. Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) speaks during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)

Dems Threaten to Subpoena FTI Consulting Over 'Blanket Refusal' to Provide Info on Fossil Fuel Work

"FTI's refusal to cooperate with this congressional inquiry shows that they have something to hide, which will reveal the dangerous ways agencies like theirs have promoted fossil fuel greenwash and misinformation," said the Clean Creatives campaign's leader.

Jessica Corbett

Two Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives this week threatened to subpoena FTI Consulting if it continues refusing to comply with a request for information about the firm's work for fossil fuel interests.

"FTI may be the first communications agency to be subpoenaed in an investigation such as this one, but they will not be the last."

Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and Katie Porter (D-Calif.), head of the panel's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, made the threat in a Wednesday letter to Steven H. Gunby, the firm's president and CEO.

Grijalva and Porter previously sent requests for materials to Gunby and the leaders of four other public relations firms—Blue Advertising, DDC Advocacy, Singer Associates, and Story Partners—plus the American Petroleum Institute, a fossil fuel industry trade group, on June 12.

"In the subsequent weeks, our staff has had multiple conversations with FTI's representation in a good-faith effort to accommodate any reasonable concerns FTI might have regarding this request," the new letter explains. "FTI has not wavered in its blanket refusal to provide even the most basic information about its clients or descriptions of the grounds for its refusal beyond the vaguest assertions of confidentiality and privileges."

"FTI has provided no indication that this obstruction of congressional oversight will come to an end voluntarily," the document adds. "Unless FTI Consulting produces all responsive documents by 5:00 pm on August 24, 2022, the committee will be forced to consider all of its options for obtaining this information, including, but not limited to, authorizing and issuing a subpoena."

In a statement to The Hill, an FTI spokesperson said that "our company takes the subcommittee's request very seriously. We continue to be in regular contact with subcommittee staff as we progress our efforts to be responsive to the chair's request in a manner consistent with our legal obligations to preserve our clients' confidentiality and privileges."

Meanwhile, Duncan Meisel, the executive director of Clean Creatives—a campaign that works to expose the link between climate misinformation and advertising and PR agencies—welcomed the Democrats' latest move.

"FTI Consulting is responsible for some of the most misleading fossil fuel campaigns in operation today," Meisel said. "FTI's refusal to cooperate with this congressional inquiry shows that they have something to hide, which will reveal the dangerous ways agencies like theirs have promoted fossil fuel greenwash and misinformation."

"The public deserves to know the ways in which agencies have polluted the debate about climate change," he added, "and FTI's resistance to participate in this discussion will do damage to their reputation, and the reputation of the communications industry they are a part of."

According to Meisel, "FTI may be the first communications agency to be subpoenaed in an investigation such as this one, but they will not be the last—unless the PR and ad industry cleans up its act, and stops working for the fossil fuel industry."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Permian Basin Leaking 14 Times More Methane Than EPA Estimates: Study

"Applying this estimate to all gas gathering pipelines nationwide for illustrative purposes would increase the EPA inventory estimate for the entire natural gas system by 27%," noted co-authors of a new study.

Julia Conley ·


Coalition Representing 24 Million Workers Demands Senate Vote on PRO Act Before Midterms

"Passing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act would level the playing field for these workers, and show people which side the Senate Democrats are on," said one advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·


US Should Respond to OPEC by Reinstating Oil Export Ban, Says Green Group

"It is no surprise that the international oil cartel is seeking to maintain high prices," said a campaigner with Food & Water Watch. "Political leaders here at home must understand that the solution is not to increase drilling."

Jake Johnson ·


Coalition Says Biden Should Offer This Many Offshore Drilling Leases: Zero

"We cannot continue down a path that overlooks the irreversible damage of Big Oil," warned one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Not a Blacklist' But a 'Whitewash': EU Slammed for Letting Tax Havens Off the Hook

"How can anyone give this list any credibility?" asked Oxfam's tax expert after the European Union removed infamous safe harbor Bermuda from a roster that also exempts E.U. members.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo