Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is set to attend a fundraiser on Jan. 19 co-hosted by a former senator who now works for a company that lobbies on behalf of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Clinton, who has set a $50 million fundraising goal for the first-quarter of 2016, will attend a flurry of fundraisers in January and is scheduled to appear at the New Orleans home of Frances and Calvin Fayard for an event that is being co-hosted by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his sister Mary Landrieu, a former Democratic senator from Louisiana.
Landrieu, who was defeated by Republican Bill Cassidy, was one of the Keystone XL pipeline’s biggest backers in the weeks leading up to the 2014 elections as she "turned into a one-woman Senate whip" in an attempt to find 60 senators to support her bill to approve the project in "a desperate week of arm-twisting by a lawmaker whose political career is on the line."
After the Democrat-led Senate failed to pass the bill, coming up just one vote short, the Washington Post wrote that Landrieu "suffered the biggest indignity of her 2014 campaign, and possibly of her political career."
Landrieu went on to join Van Ness Feldman, a D.C.-based firm that has lobbied on behalf of the TransCanada Corporation, which has been pushing for the construction of the pipeline. Landrieu is currently serving as a senior policy adviser focusing on energy, environment, and natural resources, as well as government relations and policy.
Van Ness has received hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of several years to lobby on behalf of TransCanada, which is additionally "pursuing dual legal actions against the Obama administration . . . [for refusing] to issue a border-crossing permit for the company’s Keystone XL pipeline project." Van Ness is one of two companies still on retainer for TransCanada.
Between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2015, Landrieu bundled a total of $18,100 for Hillary’s campaign, according to lobbyist disclosure reports.
After months of refusing to take a position on the pipeline, Clinton came out in opposition to its construction in September 2015 claiming she’s "just an ordinary citizen who believes the Keystone pipeline will destroy our Environment."
Clinton received $1.6 million for eight speeches from two Canadian banks closely connected to the promotion of the Keystone pipeline shortly before she announced her candidacy for president. The speeches were considered fully or partially paid for by the banks.
Clinton has called for the "deep decarbonization" of our economy by 2050, an energy plan that would "urge households and businesses to switch away from heating oil and other petroleum products," while also opposing issuing permits for drilling in the Arctic Ocean and lifting the oil export ban.
These actions appear to be at odds with previous initiatives promoted by Clinton.
While serving as secretary of state, Clinton launched the Global Shale Gas Initiative in 2010, which promoted fracking in other countries to the benefit of Chevron and ExxonMobil—both of which have contributed heavily to the Clintons’ charity.
ExxonMobil has donated more than $16 million to Vital Voices since 2007, a Clinton nonprofit founded in 1997, while also giving between $1 and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. Chevron, meanwhile, has contributed between $500,000 and $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.
Neither Landrieu nor Clinton’s campaign returned a request for comment.