Sam Nunn should share Chevron’s hot seat

By Gary Jacobson

April 2, 2008 at 8:31am

Congress grilled oil company executives Tuesday about runaway energy costs and record profits. For Chevron, there was some irony. Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, a Georgia Democrat, is a member of Chevron’s board of directors.

“On April Fool’s Day, the biggest joke of all is being played on American families by Big Oil,” Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill.

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is a former Chevron board member.

Testifying in Washington were executives Stephen Simon of Exxon Mobil, John Hofmeister of Shell Oil, Peter Robertson of Chevron, John Lowe of ConocoPhillips, and Robert Malone of BP America.

Nunn, a U.S. senator from 1972 to 1996, joined Chevron’s board in 1997. While in the Senate, he chaired the Armed Services Committee and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

In 2007, Chevron awarded Nunn nearly $345,000 in total compensation, according to an SEC filing Tuesday.

Robertson, vice chairman, had total compensation of about $14.2 million last year, according to Chevron’s annual proxy statement.

None of the other companies appearing in Washington Tuesday has such a direct connection to U.S. lawmakers, but ConocoPhillips does have diplomatic ties. Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former ambassador and Assistant Secretary of State J. Stapleton Roy are Conoco directors.

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