Fox Business Fails To Disclose Industry Ties Of Drilling Proponent


On Fox Business' Follow the Money, Penny Lee claimed that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is a "frozen wasteland" and that "we should be drilling there." But neither Lee nor host Eric Bolling disclosed the fact that one of Lee's lobbying clients is a corporation that holds millions of acres of potential oil lands in Alaska including land located near ANWR.

Lee Claims ANWR Is A "Frozen Wasteland ... And We Should Be Drilling There"

Lee: "There Is No Better Place Than The Tundra" Of ANWR To Drill For Oil. On the May 6 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money, Bolling introduced Lee as "a Democratic strategist and former senior adviser to Sen. Harry Reid." During the segment, Lee agreed with Bolling and guest Andrew Breitbart that "there is no better place" to drill for oil "than the tundra that is up there. It literally is a frozen wasteland where ANWR is, and we should be drilling there." [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 5/6/11]

But Fox Didn't Disclose Lee's Connections To Alaskan Oil Industry

Lee Failed To Disclose Her Lobbying Firm's Ties To Major Alaskan Oil Land Holder. During the segment, neither Lee, nor Bolling disclosed the fact that one of the 2010 clients of Venn Strategies, the lobbying firm of which Lee is president, is the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC). From the Venn Strategies website:

Venn Strategies Client List

[Venn Strategies LLC, accessed 5/7/11]

ASRC Controls More Than 5 Million Acres Of Oil-Rich Land In Alaska's North Slope. According to the ASRC website, the corporation "hold[s] title to nearly 5 million acres of Alaska's North Slope. Most of these lands are highly prospective for oil and gas, coal and base metal sulfides. Some of the lands contain known resource reserves such as the Alpine Oil Field and the Western Arctic Coalfields." According to a map provided by the corporation, some of that land is located near ANWR. From the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation:

ARSC holdings map

[Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, accessed 5/7/11]

ASRC Specifically Hired Lee To Lobby Congress On "Issues Relating To Fuel Procurement." According to Venn Strategies' lobbying report, ARSC gave Venn $60,000 in the fourth quarter of 2010 alone. The report makes clear that Penny Lee specifically lobbied for the group to the House of Representatives and the Senate on "issues relating to endangered species," "issues relating to global warming," and "issues relating to fuel procurement" among other issues. [Center for Responsive Politics, accessed 5/7/11]

ASRC Paid Venn Strategies $180,000 In 2010 To Lobby Congress. According to figures from, ARSC retained Venn Strategies for $180,000 in 2010. Lee was one of two Venn employees who lobbied on behalf of ARSC. [Center for Responsive Politics, accessed 5/7/11]

ASRC Reportedly Suing To Prevent Habitat Designation For Polar Bears. A January 18 Anchorage Daily News article reported that the ARSC, along with "10 other Native organizations," "are threatening to sue the federal government over its decision to designate more than 187,000 square miles of land and ocean as critical habitat for polar bears." According to the article:

Some of the Arctic's largest Alaska Native organizations are threatening to sue the federal government over its decision to designate more than 187,000 square miles of land and ocean as critical habitat for polar bears.

Arctic Slope Regional Corp. and 10 other Native organizations, along with the North Slope Borough, contend that the Interior Department's decision two months ago to establish polar bear critical habitat was illegal because it didn't address Alaska Native concerns.

The polar bear issue is intertwined with the debate over climate change and the push to develop new oil and gas projects on the North Slope and in federal waters off Alaska's coast. While a few Native organizations have sued to block oil and gas drilling, some of those involved in the potential lawsuit have been working for years with the oil and gas industry, including Arctic Slope and the North Slope Borough. [Anchorage Daily News, 1/18/11]

Fox Has Previously Hidden Oil Ties Of A Guest

Cavuto Didn't Disclose Industry Ties Of Guest Who Downplayed BP Spill's Impact. On the April 23 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto had as a guest Quenton Dokken, identified as a "Marine Biologist and President of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation," to downplay the impact of the 2010 BP oil spill. Cavuto did not disclose that the Gulf of Mexico Foundation has direct ties to the offshore drilling industry, including Transocean, owner of the drilling rig at the center of the massive spill. A Transocean executive has sat on the foundation's board, and Transocean hosted a board meeting and sponsored a dinner for the board of directors. [Media Matters, 4/20/11; ProPublica, 5/4/10]

Posted In
Environment & Science, Drilling
Fox Business
Penny Lee
Follow the Money with Eric Bolling
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