Tillerson’s Answers About Exxon’s Lobbying Against Russian Sanctions Defy Logic

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Originally published on ThinkProgress.
By Joe Romm

The ex-CEO said “I don’t know” in regard to numerous questions about the company he led.

In his hearing to be confirmed as Secretary of State, Exxon’s Rex Tillerson portrayed himself as a Chief Executive Officer (and Board Chair) who had no idea what the company was doing in several areas, including that of his greatest responsibility: Russia.

Perhaps the most jaw-dropping exchange of the day occurred when Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) followed up on Tillerson’s amazing claim that neither he nor Exxon ever lobbied against sanctions against Russia in response to their incursions in Ukraine. Menendez showed Tillerson the documents Exxon filed, which proved they had lobbied on sanctions.

Tillerson then professed utter ignorance of whether Exxon was lobbying for or against sanctions, saying, “I don’t know” twice.

The idea that Tillerson doesn’t know how Exxon lobbied — on an issue of clear interest to the company he was leading — defies logic.

Tillerson was in charge of Exxon’s holdings in Russia beginning in January 1998. Tillerson was “the long-time director of a U.S.-Russian oil firm based in the tax haven of the Bahamas,” as the UK Guardian reported last month. In 2013, Putin gave then-CEO Tillerson the highest award a foreigner can receive — the Order of Friendship — for negotiating a $500 billion deal with Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned (i.e. Putin-controlled) oil company.

Read more: Tillerson’s claims on Exxon’s Russian sanctions lobbying defy logic

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