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Watchdogs Criticize Insider Influence-Peddling Over Keystone Oil Pipeline Project

WASHINGTON - Campaign finance watchdogs criticized the Obama campaign today for hiring a former lobbyist for the Keystone XL pipeline while the administration is finalizing its decision on the project.

Statement from Public Campaign Action Fund, Common Cause, Public Citizen and US PIRG:

“The Obama campaign’s decision to hire a former lobbyist for TransCanada highlights again the troubling connections between government officials and the company seeking to build the Keystone XL pipeline, currently under consideration at the State Department.

“The final decision on whether or not to allow the pipeline to move forward should be based on sound science and the impact it will have on the American people and free of undue influence from industry lobbyists or their campaign contributions.

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“President Barack Obama should explain to the public how he will ensure that the decision making process on the pipeline is insulated from the undue influence of the parties that would benefit from it.”

In early October, emails between TransCanada lobbyists and various State Department lobbyists have showed “cozy” ties between the company and the department. On Monday, the Obama campaign announced it had hired Broderick Johnson to be a senior adviser to the campaign. Prior to the announcement, he served as a lobbyist for Bryan Cave LLP, representing TransCanada and working on the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Keystone Pipeline System would be a 1,700-mile pipeline sending tar sands crude oil across six U.S. states to the Gulf Coast.

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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