White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, WND has learned, lived rent-free in Washington, D.C., for years, thanks in part to a friend under contract with oil giant BP.
While the White House approaches “day 50” of the environmental disaster caused by an explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, unable yet to stop the flowing crude in the Gulf, several media sources have questioned the administration’s efforts to regulate BP prior to the incident.
WND’s research further raises the question of whether the White House was compromised by Emanuel’s financial ties to the company.
Emanuel lived for five years rent-free in an apartment owned by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and her husband, Stanley Greenberg, whose consulting firm was a prime architect in BP’s efforts to recast itself as a “green” corporation and recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars awarded through a committee chaired by Emanuel.
Greenberg research helped reposition BP as a “green company”
The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner consulting firm’s website details a case study for client BP in which the firm “helped BP plan and evaluate its successful re-branding campaign, focusing the company’s branding on energy solutions, including the development of solar and other renewable energy sources.”
Greenberg Quinlin Rosner’s research also contributed to a $200 million advertising campaign in which British Petroleum attempted to shorten its name to “BP” and redesign its corporate insignia to emphasize a “Beyond Petroleum” theme.
Critics have characterized the BP advertising campaign prompted by Greenberg Quinlin Rosner research as “greenwashing,” a process in which corporations disingenuously portray their efforts as fitting into a politically correct, “green,” environment-oriented sensitivity to alternative energy.
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner is also tied heavily to the Democratic Party, as it created a sister political consulting company named “GCS,” an acronym based on the last names of the principals – Stanley Greenberg of GQR, James Carville, the long-term adviser of Bill Clinton, and Bob Schrum, the campaign manager for Sen. John Kerry’s unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign.
Emanuel’s money ties to Greenberg
Within weeks of Obama’s inauguration, newspaper reports discovered Emanuel living rent-free in DeLauro’s and Greenberg’s home and began asking questions.
“One issue is whether Emanuel, who served in the House with DeLauro until early January (2009), should have listed the room either as a gift or as income on his congressional financial disclosure forms,” Washington-based correspondent Andrew Zajac wrote in the Chicago Tribune on Feb. 24, 2009.
“A murkier question is whether Emanuel has a tax liability for the relationship,” he continued. “The matter may have particular sensitivity in the early days of an Obama administration in which at least four picks for high posts have had confirmations delayed or derailed by tax irregularities.”
Initially, DeLauro countered by issuing a statement that “we have no separate apartment in our D.C. house, no rental apartment,” claiming instead that bedrooms and living areas in the house “are often used by close family and friends.”
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann further commented in the New York Post that Emanuel “also served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee – which gave Greenberg huge polling contracts.”
“[The DCCC] paid Greenberg’s firm $239,996 in 2006 and $317,775 in 2008,” Morris and McGann wrote.
After consulting tax experts, Morris and McGann estimated that Emanuel’s rent-free income for the five years he lived in the DeLauro/Greenberg apartment “could easily add up to more than $100,000.”
At the time, Obama administration called BP a model for safety
Last year, the federal Minerals Management Service, a part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, heralded the BP Deepwater Horizon rig as a model of safety, according to a May 16 Associated Press report.
Facing intense criticism for the failure of the Department of Interior to note problems with the Deepwater Horizon rig prior to the collapse, Interior Department secretary Ken Salazar announced last month a major reorganization breaking the Minerals Management Service into three divisions to split what Salazar called the conflicting duties of regulating oil companies while simultaneously collecting revenues from them.
Last week, Salazar announced that Bob Abbey, formerly head of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, was being reassigned to head and restructure the Minerals Management Service, replacing former director Elizabeth Birnbaum, who resigned suddenly under pressure for lax oversight in light of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
In the announcement of Abbey’s appointment, the Associated Press noted, Abbey was being called upon “to reverse a culture in which regulators favored the oil and natural gas industry,” while oil and natural gas inspectors under Birnbaum’s management “accepted trips, gifts and other favors from the industry.”