Monday, April 03, 2006

Guest list to controversial meeting with EPA Admin

More today on the Hatch Act violating appearance by EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson at a small closed meeting with lobbyists and industry leaders that was also a political fundraiser for CO-7 Republican candidate Rick O'Donnell

I have recieved back FOIA information from the EPA including the guest list that was mentioned in the Denver Post :

Nine of the 10 people listed as attending the event have or could have business before the EPA. (One person on the list says she actually didn't attend.) Johnson's appearance in such a tight-knit political setting compromises his impartiality in presiding over such matters.

Was it a fundraiser? Were there actual guests? Nearly everyone on this preliminary list is a "host". It seems likely that this list was a preliminary roster of invitees, and not the real attendees, but let's take a look anyhow...

The 'Hosts' are all members of the Greenberg Traurig law firm. Greenberg Traurig is the massive lobbying operation that is the fourth largest employer of lawyers in the U.S.
They were behind Jack Abramoff's Indian Casino deals and they funded the Bush Florida recount battle in 2000 to the tune of $314k in free services.

Six of the ten guests were G-T lawyers.

1) Doug Benevento
2) Larry Hudson
3) Brian Duffy
4) Jim Prochnow
5) Dave Palmer
6) Chris Neumann

Several of the six have interesting ties to the Owens administration and to clients who clearly have matters pending or possible before the EPA.
Doug Benevento was the Director of the Colorado Department of Health and Environment until he stepped down a few months ago to take the private sector position at Greenberg & Traurig.
Chris Newmann was on the Hazardous Waste Commission and was just appointed by Owens to the Colorado Air Quality Commission.

3 of the remaining 4 were industry leaders who paid for the off-the-record session with EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson:

7) Stuart Sanderson, Colorado Mining Association
8) Craig Richardson, El Paso Gas
9) Stan Dempsy, Colorado Petroleum Association & Colorado Oil and Gas Association

And mystery guest number 10, who told the Post she did not attend?

10) Shayne Madsen of the law firm McKenna, Long, & Aldridge.

One of Ms. Madsen's biggest accomplishments to date?

She represented the Colorado Secretary of State before the Colorado Supreme Court in connection with the 2003 Congressional Redistricting challenge.

That was the redistricting issue that created the Seventh Congressional district, and that the Republicans still hope will disolve the district.
Their case is still winding through the courts, and it is interesting, if somewhat unsuprising, that Rick is closely allied with the people who want to erase the district he seeks to represent.


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