Ousted Rep. Pombo's Aides Set Up Shop as "Responsible Resources"

Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) represented California's 11th congressional district from 1993 to 2007, and lost a re-election bid after concerted opposition from national environmental groups, amid allegations of corruption, misuse of official resources, nepotism, and questionable campaign contributions.

While in Congress, Pombo served as Chairman of the House Resources Committee and proposed legislation to sell roughly a quarter of the land managed by the National Park Service. He advocated for allowed mining companies to buy federal lands and favored oil drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. He proposed weakening the Endangered Species Act in concert with the front group Save Our Species Alliance.

The League of Conservation Voters assigned a lifetime average rating of 7 on a scale of 0 to 100 and released an ad October 31, 2005on, citing Pombo's acceptance of $120,000 from oil companies and his ties to indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Now, according to a February 26, 2008 article by Alex Kaplun in Greenwire, "Former Pombo staffers launch advocacy group," ex-House Resource Committee aides Brian Kennedy, Lisa Wallace, Dan Kish and Rob Gordon have launched Responsible Resources with an ad campaign asserting that taxes on energy companies are a threat to affordable and reliable energy.

The House had just passed a bill that would repeal a manufacturing tax credit to large, integrated oil companies and other credits targeted at the oil industry and redirect the money to continue tax credits for the development of renewable energy resources like wind and solar power, as well as energy efficiency, which were slated to end this year.

Kennedy, had most recently served as a spokesman to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). He would not disclose the group's budget, but said it would not take corporate donations and described it as an educational resource principally for members of Congress and their aides with the ultimate goal of growing large enough to influence the debate beyond the Beltway. The group plans to publish a desk reference on energy resources in the United States including how much energy is needed to power the country in the future and how much of that energy could come from the United States.

Wallace is a former chief financial officer to the Resources Committee. Gordon, president of the new group, is the founder and president of the National Wilderness Institute, which has challenged the Endangered Species Act. Kish retired as a senior adviser to the committee after serving as the committee’s chief of staff in the 1990s.

See also: Jim Snyder, "Former GOP Aides Form New Energy Group," The Hill, 2/27/08.

While Kennedy claims the group is non-partisan, a look at the group's site reveals it to appear to be a pr effort to counteract environmental arguments and policies espoused by Democrats and some moderate Republicans. For instance, in talking about reducing CO2 emmissions, the site says,

Although the policies would be extremely expensive, consume resources that could be directed to immediate and profound problems, and have limited potential to affect climate, many contend that there is an urgent need to implement some sort of policy. Many potenital factors can contribute to and exacerbate the sense that policies are urgently needed.
These factors identified include "sensational journalism" to justify higher advertising rates, corporations seeking a competitive advantage, researchers in academia and government who want more funding, and foreign countries who want to impose costs on the U.S. economy.

If this is indeed a non-profit group, it will soon enough have to file IRS forms. Until then, it's hard to know who is actually funding this effort. Here's the contact information for the group:

PO Box 320247
Alexandria, VA 22320
Phone: (703) 535-3004
Fax: (703) 647-6259
Email: info@resres.org