New documentation has been given to the Senate of further leaks from Department of Energy employees to an oil industry lobbyist who claims to have used the information to influence pending DOE decisions.
Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) will chair hearings today of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee that will look into the documentation, which had been given to his staff.
The controversy began two weeks ago when a consumer group released a copy of an internal memorandum written by a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, an oil industry trade group.
The memorandum from lobbyist John Iannone to his superiors at the API indicated that he had been made privy to information about pending DOE decisions and was in a position to influence certain DOE actions before they were made public or opened up to public comment.
"Since the initial revelation," Metzenbaum said yesterday, "my staff has obtained other reports submitted by Mr. Iannone indicating that for more than a year he has been receiving copies of official DOE regulations, proposed rules and enforcement activities prior to the time they were released to the public."
Metzenbaum said he was 'greatly troubled" by the revelations. "Anyone who is at all familiar with the regulatory process can well appreciate the advantages associated with receiving advance notice or private access to proposed agency regulations and internal studies," he said.
In the new documents obtained by Metzenbaum's staff and made available to The Washington Post, Iannone details some of his activities for his superiors in "quarterly reports."
"Received advance notice of possible refiner overcharges resulting from interpretations of definition of transactions," read one of the entries from an October, 1977 report. "This gave the companies advance warning to prepare rebuttals."
At today's hearings, Iannonee is scheduled to testify along with a panel of consumer groups that have been attempting to secure information from DOE.