'Beto O’Rourke’s hiring of a former oil industry lobbyist is a puzzling move for a Democrat who touts his green credentials. But such contradictions are par for the course in the Washington DC swamp.
Although his policy positions are often fluid and unclear, Beto O’Rourke has worked hard to present his campaign as a grassroots movement of the people. The failed Texas Senate candidate has embraced a range of feel-good positions, promising to “take down” the wall along the Mexican border in El Paso, unveiling a $5 trillion plan to combat climate change, and earlier this month promising to reject donations from the fossil fuel industry.
I have signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge. Here's why: pic.twitter.com/VtuJQeMMgT
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) May 1, 2019
O’Rourke’s hiring last week of veteran lobbyist Jeff Berman, however, is at odds with his professed integrity.
A bona-fide swamp creature, Berman lobbied for private prison company GEO Group, Keystone XL pipeline firm TransCanada, and SeaWorld, the aquarium giant that has become a byword for animal cruelty, when he worked for law and lobbying firm Bryan Cave from 2009 to 2011.
Hailing from the Border town of El Paso, Texas, O’Rourke has made opposition to President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies one of his main standpoints, describing the detention centers illegal immigrants are housed in as institutions of “terror.” Yet during the Obama years, Berman lobbied on behalf of the GEO Group, which operates 12 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in the US, including the notorious Karnes County Detention Center in Texas, where staff were accused of sexually assaulting female detainees in 2014, and this month of denying migrants of their rights to access lawyers.'
Read more: ‘Green’ Beto O’Rourke joins the swamp, hires fossil fuel and private prisons lobbyist