Trump secretary of state nominee claims he had 'no knowledge' of Exxon's lobbying against Russia sanctions

Rex TillersonSpencer Platt/Getty ImagesRex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, listens to speakers on September 23, 2009 on a panel at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York, New York. The Fifth Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) looks to gather prominent individuals in politics, business, science, academics and religion to discuss global issues such as climate change and peace in the Middle East. The event, founded by former president Bill Clinton after he left office, is held the same week as the General Assembly at the United Nations as most world leaders are in New York.

ExxonMobil CEO and Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson said during his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday that he had “no knowledge” of Exxon’s lobbying efforts against US sanctions on Russia.

But a lobbying disclosure form from 2014, unearthed by Salon writer Simon Maloy, states that Exxon engaged in lobbying “related to Energy Sanctions in the Ukraine and Russia” in 2014, shortly after the US sanctioned Russia for annexing Crimea and its incursion into eastern Ukraine.

Exxon, under Tillerson, lobbied against US sanctions several times between 2006 and 2014, the Wall Street Journal’s Byron Tau wrote on Twitter.

One 2010 disclosure form lists a lobbying effort against the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, which penalizes companies with investments of $20,000,000 or more in Iran’s energy sector. The company also lobbied against the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, according to the form.

USA Today reported on Monday that ExxonMobil did business with Iran, Syria and Sudan in 2003, 2004, and 2005 through Infineum, in which ExxonMobil owned a 50% share at the time.

Tillerson was grilled in a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday about the potential conflicts of interests he faces as a result of his company’s extensive global operations. The company produces oil and gas in 22 countries, and Tillerson owns company shares worth $180 million, according to a report produced by the left-leaning Center for American Progress on Tuesday.

Tillerson has promised to sever ties with Exxon if he is confirmed by the Senate, in exchange for a payout that matches the value of his shares. But he faced questions during the hearing about his personal ties to Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, whom the US intelligence community said last week ordered an “influence campaign” aimed at diminishing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during the presidential election.

Tillerson, whose relationship with the Kremlin dates back to the early 1990s, has struck several major deals with the Russian state-run corporation Rosneft and received the prestigious Order of Friendship award from Putin in 2013.

NOW WATCH: ‘Let it be an arms race’: Trump doubles down on nuclear weapons tweet

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.