On June 9, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of the Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to hear testimony on the Waxman-Markey bill, called the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which would increase the cost of emitting carbon dioxide through an onerous cap on emissions. One of the witnesses was David Sokol, CEO of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. Sokol criticized the Waxman-Markey bill because it would result in higher electricity rates for his customers. At the same time the hearing was taking place, Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), the subcommittee chairman and bill co-sponsor, sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking the agency to investigate the business dealings of MidAmerican. Sokol and committee Republicans charged Markey with trying to intimidate him. Markey apologized for the letter and said intimidation was not his intention.
Mr. Sokol and House Republicans were none too pleased.
Republicans were furious when they learned that the letter was sent the same day that Sokol was testifying as a Republican witness before the subcommittee. Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) said, “There’s systematic intimidation going on, and bullying of individuals by a party that preaches tolerance and it must stop.”
According to GOP sources, Republicans on the Energy Committee, including ranking member Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), confronted Markey about the letter. The results of that meeting could not be learned.
After being caught red-handed, Markey sent a second letter.
But the day after the hearing, June 10, Markey sent a second letter to Wellinghoff to “clarify questions contained in my June 9, 2009 letter.” Markey wrote, “[M]y intent was for the Commission to analyze the activities of all investor-owned utilities with respect to their investments in transmission lines since PUHCA was (sic) revealed, and their investments in enterprises outside their core business.” Markey said the two questions about MidAmerican were meant to be answered as it relates to the industry’s transmission investments “as a whole.”