Sunday, March 20, 2016

Secretive CEWG Has Carlyle Group Ties

The Intercept reported on a secretive lobbying group:

“The Commercial Energy Working Group is one of the most active – and secret – organizations seeking to undermine energy market regulations,” Slocum told The Intercept. “The purpose of my complaint is to force the group to start identifying its membership.”

Under the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, all lobbying organizations registered with the federal government must list the names of any business that has contributed more than $5,000 to them in any one quarter. But the CEWG “does not disclose the individual companies or entities that constitute its active membership,” according to Slocum’s letter.
The group filed its first lobbying disclosure in 2013  However the Working Group of Commercial Energy Firms has been influencing public policy since 2010.  The group wrote the Secretary of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission a number of times to influence swaps regulation under Dodd-Frank:

August 19, 2010 - Rule making for Futures Commission Merchants
October 22, 2010 - Registration Requirements
November 5, 2010 - Definition of Commercial Risk
March 22, 2011 - Rule making under Title VII
January 19, 2012 - Bloomberg article on Swaps Lobbying
Lawyer Alexander Holtan migrated from Hunton Williams to Sutherland, Asbill Brennan in 2013.  That's when the group changed names and began filing lobbying reports.

During the 2nd quarter 2015 the Commercial Energy Working Group spent $60,000 lobbying on the following issues:

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission reauthorization; regulation of derivatives; treatment of derivatives and physical commodities in bankruptcy; and H.R. 2289, the Commodity End-User Relief Act.
Bets on energy commodities are far from TV, movie or music territory.  But there may be a good story in this mess.  Vitol, a member of the Commercial Energy Working Group by attendance at meetings with the CFTC, recently did a joint venture deal with The Carlyle Group on Varo Energy.

Carlyle is renowned for hiring politically connected people who can influence elected officials "without lobbying."  The New Yorker described Rubenstein:

“His vision was to combine capital with politically connected people whose phone calls are accepted around the world."

Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein hosted Vice President Joe Biden on Thanksgiving and dined numerous times with President Obama, as did Rubenstein's wife Alice Rogoff during Obama's Alaska trip

Seeking Alpha reported Carlyle and Vitol were the first exporters of U.S. oil to Europe.  Together Carlyle and Vitol have an insider on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Vitol's Ron Oppenheimer.  Besides being a regulator Oppenheimer is part of the secretive Commercial Energy Working Group.

Welcome to the Government-Corporate Monstrosity, Eisenhower's Military-Industrial Complex on trillions in federal steroids.