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Tag: Oil Industry

The following is a fact-check from the June 13, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:

CARLY FIORINA | The last head of the MMS (who recently resigned) came from the oil industry – FALSE

MS. FIORINA: And may I just say, it was Ken Salazar who put in place the secretary or the head of MMS who just recently resigned and who came from the industry.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL) | The last head of the MMS (who recently resigned) came from the U.S. House of Representatives – TRUE

REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The head of MMS was from the House of Representatives. Liz Birnbaum came from the U.S. House of Representatives. She was an employee for many years, and then she moved from the House of Representatives to MMS.

According to both a Washington Post article and a profile of Elizabeth Birnbaum (former MMS director) put out by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Ms. Birnbaum did not come from the oil industry before moving to the Minerals Management Service. Here is the Department of Interior on Ms. Birnbaum’s prior work history:

Before her appointment, she was staff director for the Committee on House Administration, where she oversaw strategy development, budget management and staff activities for the committee that manages legislative branch agencies. From 2001-2007, she was Vice President for Government Affairs and General Counsel for American Rivers, where she directed advocacy programs for the nation’s leading river conservation organization.

Not only had Ms. Birnbaum not worked anywhere near the oil industry, but that fact was even a point of criticism against her. Now although Ms. Fiorina only said that the former MMS head came from “the industry,” not specifically the “oil” industry, it seems obvious that based on the larger context of her statements she indeed meant the oil industry. Therefore, since Ms. Birnbaum did not work in the oil industry and did work most recently for the U.S. House of Representatives, we rate Ms. Fiorina’s statement FALSE and Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s statement TRUE.

This fact-check took a combined 1 hour, 45 minutes.

The following is a fact-check from the 5/23 episode of Meet the Press.

REP. JOE SESTAK (D-PA) | Oil companies are currently having record profits. – HALF TRUE

MR. GREGORY:  …which is what specific, painful choice would you advocate as United States senator to deal with the debt?

REP. SESTAK:  Close those tax loopholes.  All right?  Carried interest for Wall Street upwards of $80 billion to $100 billion a year, they get taxed at 15 percent.  Eighty billion dollars for tax loopholes for oil companies that literally have record profits, $352 billion a year that’s not collected in taxes from small businesses and individuals…(unintelligible)…corporations.

So thanks to for looking into this one:

It’s true that ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips and Shell all saw big jumps in net income in 2010 compared with 2009 – but they’re still not earning what they did back in 2008. And for nearly all of those companies, 2007 first quarter earnings were higher than the most recent profits posted as well. Here’s our chart on oil companies’ profits, drawn from their filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and company reports:

The chart created:

We agree with their analysis and rate Rep. Sestak’s misleading statement as HALF TRUE. Yes the oil companies are going through a several year period during which they have had record profits, but not specifically last or this year.

This fact-check took a combined 15 minutes.