If you’re wondering why Americans have so little faith in our leaders, the phrase “bitpartisan corporate influence peddling” might ring as true do you as it did to me. At its core, it’s why the Occupy movement exists.
The lineup promoting TransCanada’s interests was a textbook study in modern, bipartisan corporate influence peddling. Lobbyists ranged from the arch-conservative Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform to TransCanada’s in-house lobbyist Paul Elliott, who worked on both Hillary and Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaigns. President Clinton’s former Ambassador to Canada, Gordon Giffin, a major contributor to Hillary Clinton’s Presidential and Senate campaigns, was on TransCanada’s payroll, too. (Giffin says that he has never spoken to Secretary Clinton about the pipeline.) Most of the big oil companies also had a stake in the project. In a recent National Journal poll of “energy insiders,” opinion was virtually unanimous that the project would be approved.
Of course, that’s not exactly what happened, but close enough. The pipeline was moved away from crucial groundwater sources, giving even more credence to the prediction that Keystone XL will ultimately be approved.