Friday, December 14, 2018

Mystery Mueller mayhem at a Washington court -- Entire courthouse floor closed more than an hour. (CNN)

Someone does not want to testify or provide evidence before a federal grand jury.

Check out this story from CNN.

(I just checked on, the federal court website states that the name of the sealed case is:

Case is not available to the public."

United States Court of Appeals for District of Columbia case no. 18-3071

United States District Court for District of Columbia case no. 1:18-gj-00041

Mystery Mueller mayhem at a Washington court
Entire courthouse floor closed more than an hour

Posted: 2:53 PM, December 14, 2018
Updated: 2:53 PM, December 14, 2018

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held a secret and mysterious argument about a grand jury subpoena challenge Friday.

(CNN) - Fridays at the DC federal courthouse are typically days of high alert for the press corps trying to discern what special counsel Robert Mueller's next legal action will be.

But this Friday, court officials went to extreme measures to ensure it was as difficult as possible to figure out what Mueller's team was doing as the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held a secret and mysterious argument about a grand jury subpoena challenge.

An entire floor of the courthouse was closed to the public and press for more than an hour. During that time, attorneys secretly entered the courthouse to argue before three federal appellate judges over a grand jury subpoena.

The mystery of the subpoena appeal appears to date back to early September, when CNN witnessed several lawyers from Mueller's office entering a courtroom to argue against an unknown defense team before a trial-level judge who oversees federal grand jury-related cases.

Clearly, a challenge related to Mueller's grand jury investigation was underway.

Shortly after, that judge, Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District Court, ruled on a case related to a grand jury subpoena, and the losing party attempted to appeal the ruling. The appellate court batted the case back down to Howell, who held a second sealed hearing on October 5. Though CNN was locked out of the courtroom while the arguments took place, the hearing featured the same team from Mueller's office as before, which included top criminal law appellate lawyer Michael Dreeben.

Mueller's office declined to comment on the hearings.

That same day Mueller's team clashed in a sealed courtroom with an unknown opponent, Howell issued another ruling on the same grand jury subpoena challenge she had decided before, sending the losing party back to the appellate court to ask for reconsideration.

Politico a few days later overheard an attorney at the appellate court discussing sealed Mueller court filings -- and the mysterious grand jury challenge got its argument date set before a three-judge panel at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

Argument day arrived Friday.

Typically, DC Circuit Court arguments run smoothly, one after another until three cases have been argued publicly, starting at 9:30 am in a large, portrait-lined courtroom on the Fifth Floor of the federal courthouse on Constitution Avenue. But after Circuit judges David Tatel, Thomas Griffith and Stephen William -- who coincidentally has written two books on Russian history -- heard an immigration-related case Friday morning, the courthouse security went into lockdown mode.

Tatel, Griffith and Williams took a brief recess, indicating they'd return to the courtroom shortly.

Then, security officers cleared the appeals courtroom, allowing only about a dozen law clerks working for federal judges to stay behind, including at least one who assists Howell with her cases.

Security guards also cleared the vestibule to the courtroom and checked the coat closet where attorneys coming to listen to arguments stash their belongings. They locked the door leading to the attorneys' lounge on that floor and shooed the more than 20 reporters prowling the hall away from the elevator bank and told them to vacate the nearby stairwells. At one point, even an elevator wouldn't open its doors on the fifth floor.

The entire level of the building on which the appeals court is housed was locked down.

For more than an hour, the press waited, staking out stairwells and exits. The gaggle of law clerks dispersed about an hour after the arguments started, and then silence. No recognizable attorneys were spotted coming in and out of the courtroom or even the building.

No sign that it was Mueller's office. No sign of defense counsel. The courthouse security had ushered the lawyers into and out of the building for their secret hearing completely under cover. The sealed hearing stayed confidential.

And then, about 10 minutes after the court activity appeared to wrap for the day, a black Justice Department car rolled into Mueller's office building, bringing attorneys including Dreeben and Zainab Ahmad back to their home base.


From Barry Richard, New Bedford, Massachusetts WBSM Radio commentator:

December 10, 2018

Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott literally bought himself a seat in the U.S. Senate. Campaign filings indicate Scott spent $83.7 million to defeat incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. And 76 percent, or $63.5 million, of it came from his own bank account. To win a job that pays $174,000 dollars.

Why would someone spend $63.5 million of their own money for a job that pays only $174,000? Is it me or does that seem rather stupid? And he barely won!

Governor Rick Scott wins Florida Senate race
Subscribe to WBSM-AM/AM 1420 on

I suppose $63.5 million can buy you a place in history, not to mention a whole lot of access and influence. He'd have to work 365 years to earn that back. That's 61 six-year terms.

Is this what the swamp is all about? A bunch of rich folks buying powerful positions in the U.S. government? What is also amazing is that USA Today says 80 percent of candidates who self-fund their campaigns end up losing. But he won!

If we don't get around to draining this swamp, we are going to be consumed by it.

It may already be too late.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Former felons should ignore Ron DeSantis and register to vote Jan. 8, Amendment 4 advocates say. (Orlando Sentinel)

Standing in the Statehouse Door on Amendment 4?:

RONALD DION DeSANTIS, Governor-elect?

Does DeSANTIS really reckon that Republicans can delay implementation of Amendment 4, which we in the reality-based community understand to be both self-executing and self-evident, which the ballot summary explained "restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis."

Underlining shows the full text of Amendment 4, now part of  our Florida Constitution:

Article VI, Section 4. Disqualifications.—
(a) No person convicted of a felony, or adjudicated in this or any other state to be mentally incompetent, shall be qualified to vote or hold office until restoration of civil rights or removal of disability. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, any disqualification from voting arising from a felony conviction shall terminate and voting rights shall be restored upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation.
(b) No person convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense shall be qualified to vote until restoration of civil rights.
(c) No person may appear on the ballot for re-election to any of the following offices:
(1) Florida representative,
(2) Florida senator,
(3) Florida Lieutenant governor,
(4) any office of the Florida cabinet,
(5) U.S. Representative from Florida, or
(6) U.S. Senator from Florida
if, by the end of the current term of office, the person will have served (or, but for resignation, would have served) in that office for eight consecutive years.[11]

Impending elections in Jacksonville and elsewhere must not be contaminated by Republican foot-dragging.  DeSANTIS, who acts like a hobbledehoy in TRUMP's employ, does not speak for voters -- voters speak for voters, and Amendment 4 becomes the mandatory legal authority in the State of Florida on January 8, 2019.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Former felons should ignore Ron DeSantis and register to vote Jan. 8, Amendment 4 advocates say

After Florida voters decided to pass Amendment 4 on Election Day, ex-felons or 'returned citizens' had their voting rights restored.
Steven Lemongello Steven LemongelloContact Reporter
Orlando Sentinel

Governor-elect Ron DeSantis threw a wrench Thursday into former felons’ plan to register to vote in January, leading Amendment 4 advocates to quickly jump in to insist they will regain their rights Jan. 8 whether he and the Legislature acts or not.

Supporters of the amendment, which would restore voting rights to 1.4 million former felons and passed with almost 65 percent of the vote in November, said its language clearly states it will become automatic on Jan. 8 without any approval from the Legislature or governor.

But in an interview with the Palm Beach Post, DeSantis said the amendment should not take effect until “implementing language” is approved and signed.

“They’re going to be able to do that in March,” DeSantis told the Post. “There’s no way you can go through this session without implementing it.”

By that time, early voting and even Election Day will have begun for many municipal elections across Florida, including Tampa and Orange County cities such as Winter Park and Maitland.

Florida's fight for Amendment 4 is a personal crusade for many seeking right to vote
Desmond Meade of Orlando, who founded the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and led the petition drive to get Amendment 4 on the ballot, said in a statement that “the language is clear and that this Amendment does not require enabling legislation.”

“Amendment 4 was and remains about people, not politics,” Meade said. “It is about people like the veteran in Tampa who is ready to vote this March in the mayor’s race, or the pastor in Jacksonville who has been waiting for years to do the same in her hometown.”

FRRC political director Neil Volz, a Republican, said the group looks forward to working with DeSantis and state officials.

But, Volz said, “at the same time, we will continue encouraging people from all over the state who are impacted by this Amendment to register to vote at their local supervisors of elections office on January 8th.”

Melba Pearson, the interim executive director of the ACLU of Florida, was even more blunt: “On January 8, Amendment 4 goes into effect. These are the facts.”

DeSantis’s comments came after county supervisors of elections said at an annual meeting earlier this month that they weren’t getting guidance from the Florida Department of State as to how to begin implementing the new law.

Until then, there had not seemed to have been any major opposition to the law kicking in Jan. 8.

On Nov. 29, GOP state House Speaker Jose Oliva had seemingly contradicted DeSantis, saying, “The idea that we would slow walk or attempt to change an amendment to the constitution passed by the people of the state of Florida is inconsistent with our principles. The amendment is clear and the effective date is clear.”

After Thursday’s comments by DeSantis, Democratic Senate Leader Audrey Gibson said that, “As a self-proclaimed ‘constitutionalist,’ Governor-elect DeSantis should know better.” Democratic House Leader Kionne McGhee went further, saying on Twitter that his caucus will oppose any attempt by DeSantis to delay the Amendment. “This is non-negotiable,” McGhee wrote.

A prospective voter incorrectly claiming on a registration form that their rights have been restored is a criminal offense, so confusion over the Jan. 8 date could have real consequences.

But Volz, a former felon himself, insisted, “For those of us who have earned back our eligibility to vote, January 8th is going to be a celebration – one that has the support of both the Constitution and the people.”, 407-418-5920, @stevelemongello, facebook/stevelemongello

Ex-Tallahassee mayor Maddox indicted in FBI investigation that hurt Gillum’s campaign. (Miami Herald)

Former Florida Democratic Party Chair SCOTT MADDOX, ex-Mayor of Tallahassee, INDICTED.  The name of his company says it all -- GOVERNANCE, INC.   As my late lobbyist friend, Larry Tucker, once explained to me, "the only difference between Democrats and Republicans in Tallahassee is that the Democrats want the money in a paper sack and the Republicans want the money in a briefcase."  Corruption must be extirpated. That especially includes our Florida and local Democratic Party, which both have delusions of adequacy.

By the way, note to deluded last-minute voters for shallow, callow Flori-DUH Governor-elect RONALD DeSANTIS: nothing on Andrew Gillum in this indictment.  Did DeSANTIS wade through slaughter to a throne, with lies about Andrew Gillum, based on allegations from "persons motivated by malice, vindictiveness, intolerance, prejudice, or jealousy."  Greene v. McElroy, 360 U.S. 474, 496 (1959).

But DONALD JOHN TRUMP a/k/a "INDIVIDUAL 1" is an unindicted coconspirator on felony counts for which his henchmen have pled guilty and are going to federal prisons.

Scott Charles Maddox
Scott Charles Maddox 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Wicked Evil Big Oil Companies Lobbied Against Fuel Economy, for Dirty Air (Who Knew). (NY Times)

The Oil Industry’s Covert Campaign to Rewrite American Car Emissions Rules

Marathon, the country’s largest oil refiner, has backed the Trump administration proposal to roll back car efficiency standards.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times
Marathon, the country’s largest oil refiner, has backed the Trump administration proposal to roll back car efficiency standards.CreditCreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times
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When the Trump administration laid out a plan this year that would eventually allow cars to emit more pollution, automakers, the obvious winners from the proposal, balked. The changes, they said, went too far even for them.
But it turns out that there was a hidden beneficiary of the plan that was pushing for the changes all along: the nation’s oil industry.
In Congress, on Facebook and in statehouses nationwide, Marathon Petroleum, the country’s largest refiner, worked with powerful oil-industry groups and a conservative policy network financed by the billionaire industrialist Charles G. Koch to run a stealth campaign to roll back car emissions standards, a New York Times investigation has found.
The campaign’s main argument for significantly easing fuel efficiency standards — that the United States is so awash in oil it no longer needs to worry about energy conservation — clashed with decades of federal energy and environmental policy

“With oil scarcity no longer a concern,” Americans should be given a “choice in vehicles that best fit their needs,” read a draft of a letter that Marathon helped to circulate to members of Congress over the summer. Official correspondence later sent to regulators by more than a dozen lawmakers included phrases or sentences from the industry talking points, and the Trump administration’s proposed rules incorporate similar logic.
The industry had reason to urge the rollback of higher fuel efficiency standards proposed by former President Barack Obama. A quarter of the world’s oil is used to power cars, and less-thirsty vehicles mean lower gasoline sales.
In recent months, Marathon Petroleum also teamed up with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a secretive policy group financed by corporations as well as the Koch network, to draft legislation for states supporting the industry’s position. Its proposed resolution, dated Sept. 18, describes current fuel-efficiency rules as “a relic of a disproven narrative of resource scarcity” and says “unelected bureaucrats” shouldn’t dictate the cars Americans drive.
A separate industry campaign on Facebook, covertly run by an oil-industry lobby representing Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Phillips 66 and other oil giants, urged people to write to regulators to support the rollback. 
The Facebook ads linked to a website with a picture of a grinning Mr. Obama. It asked, “Would YOU buy a used car from this man?” The site appears to have been so effective that a quarter of the 12,000 public comments received by the Department of Transportation can be traced to the petition, according to a Times analysis.

Gary R. Heminger, Marathon’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement that the company supported “sound fuel economy standards” and wanted to “help ensure they are achievable and based on existing technology.” 
He added, “We appreciate the administration’s willingness to conduct a thorough review in order to ensure future standards are achievable and will actually benefit American consumers.”
Marathon’s chief executive, Gary Heminger, third from right, at the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 3 to note an acquisition that made the company the nation’s largest refiner.CreditRichard Drew/Associated Press
Marathon’s chief executive, Gary Heminger, third from right, at the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 3 to note an acquisition that made the company the nation’s largest refiner.CreditRichard Drew/Associated Press
A spokesman for Koch Industries, the energy conglomerate led by Mr. Koch, said the company had “a long, consistent track record of opposing all forms of corporate welfare, including all subsidies, mandates and other handouts that rig the system.”
The oil industry’s campaign, the details of which have not been previously reported, illuminates why the rollbacks have gone further than the more modest changes automakers originally lobbied for
The standards that the Trump administration seeks to weaken required automakers to roughly double the fuel economy of new cars, SUVs and pickup trucks by 2025. Instead, the Trump plan would freeze the standards at 2020 levels. Carmakers, for their part, had sought more flexibility in meeting the original 2025 standards, not a categorical rollback.
The Trump plan, if finalized, would increase greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by more than the amount many midsize countries put out in a year and reverse a major effort by the Obama administration to fight climate change.

The energy industry’s efforts also help explain the Trump administration’s confrontational stance toward California, which, under federal law, has a unique authority to write its own clean-air rules and to mandate more zero-emissions vehicles.
California has pledged to stick to the stricter standards, together with 13 other states that follow its lead. But President Trump’s plan challenges California’s rule-writing power, setting up a legal battle that threatens to split the American auto market in two. 
That is a prospect automakers desperately want to avoid.
But for gasoline producers like Marathon, a shift toward more efficient vehicles poses a grave threat to the bottom line. In October, the company acquired a rival, Andeavor, making it the biggest refiner in the United States, with sales of 16 billion gallons of fuel a year. 
Even while doubling down on gasoline, Marathon has projected an environmentally friendly public image. “We have invested billions of dollars to make our operations more energy efficient,” Marathon said in a recent report. The company’s Twitter account recently highlighteda gardening project and the creation of a duck pond at one of its refineries.
On a conference call with investors last week, Mr. Heminger, the Marathon chief executive, was already counting the extra barrels of fuel a Trump rollback would mean for the industry: 350,000 to 400,000 barrels of gasoline per day, he said.
“However, you have another side who doesn’t want to pivot away” from the stricter rules, Mr. Heminger said. “So we have a lot of work to do to keep this momentum going.”

A Marathon Petroleum refinery in Detroit. CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times
A Marathon Petroleum refinery in Detroit. CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

Marathon began its outreach to the Trump administration early, asking to meet with Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency soon after he became its administrator in early 2017. Marathon had been a top donor to Mr. Pruitt in Oklahoma, a state where oil is so prominent that a well stands on the grounds of the capitol building. 
“Our CEO, Gary Heminger, would be very glad for an opportunity to visit with the Administrator,” a Marathon lobbyist wrote in an email to Mr. Trump’s transition team on May 8, 2017. “I believe this would be a constructive dialogue.” The E.P.A. helps oversee fuel economy rules along with the Transportation Department.
Mr. Pruitt was scheduled to meet with the Marathon chief at least twice — once in June 2017 as part of a meeting with the board of a powerful fuel-industry group, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and again in September for a more private talk, according to emails and schedules released in a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club.
A Marathon spokesman, Chuck Rice, said Mr. Heminger did not discuss auto-efficiency rollbacks with Mr. Pruitt. An E.P.A. official did not respond to a question about whether the auto rules were discussed.
Marathon then turned its focus to Congress, hiring the firm Ogilvy Government Relations to lobby legislators in Washington on fuel-economy standards, according to Ogilvy’s disclosure forms. The firm did not respond to a request for comment.
Over the summer, Marathon representatives also approached legislators about an industry talking-points letter, according to six people familiar with that effort. The file properties of a Microsoft Word version of one letter, provided by a Congressional delegation, show that it was last edited by a Marathon lobbyist, Michael J. Birsic, on June 11, 2018. 
Mr. Rice of Marathon said the company did not write the letter, and the company declined to say who did. It did not offer an explanation for Mr. Birsic’s digital fingerprint on the document file.

Nineteen lawmakers from the delegations of Indiana, West Virginia and Pennsylvania sent letters to the Transportation Department that included exact phrases and reasoning from the industry letter. The lawmakers’ letters, sent in June and July, all make the point that oil scarcity is no longer a concern.
A portion of a letter detailing pro-industry talking points that was later echoed in letters written by lawmakers to regulators, such as the example below.
A portion of a letter detailing pro-industry talking points that was later echoed in letters written by lawmakers to regulators, such as the example below.
A letter sent by Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to regulators used language similar to the industry talking-points note, excerpted above.
A letter sent by Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to regulators used language similar to the industry talking-points note, excerpted above.
The Trump administration’s proposed rollback echoes the post-conservation theme. While energy conservation is significant, the proposal says, the downside of additional petroleum consumption would be dwarfed by the rollback’s benefits.
Representatives from the three state delegations either declined to comment or did not respond to requests. 
Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, criticized the industry’s campaign. “It appears as though oil interests are cynically trying to gin up support in Congress for the weakest possible standards to ensure that cars and SUVs have to rely on even more oil,” he said. 
“If this attempt is successful, the outcome will be a blow to the auto industry, consumers, and our environment.”

The Facebook ads, featuring Mr. Trump waving alongside the message, “SUPPORT OUR PRESIDENT’S CAR FREEDOM AGENDA!,” appeared the week after the administration made public its fuel economy plan in August. At least 10 times during the two-month public comment period on the plan, the ads, which did not state their oil industry origins, asked people to write to the government to back weaker emissions standards.
Public comments matter in federal rule-making. The law requires that citizens’ views be taken into account before a rule is finalized.
“File an official comment to SUPPORT our President’s plan for safer, cheaper cars that WE get to choose,” read one ad, which ran for seven days in early October. The ad leads to a page that provides basic language to submit.
Facebook ads by Energy4Us prompted more than 3,300 of the 12,000 public comments on the administration’s rollback proposal, a Times analysis showed.Credit
Facebook ads by Energy4Us prompted more than 3,300 of the 12,000 public comments on the administration’s rollback proposal, a Times analysis showed.Credit
More than 3,300 of the 12,000 public comments that D.O.T. has made public contain language identical to that petition, an analysis of the files showed.
The campaign was a product of the fuel and petrochemical manufacturers trade group, widely known as AFPM. However, neither the Facebook ads nor the site identified the industry group. Instead they name a group called Energy4US, which describes itself as “a coalition of consumers, businesses and workers” promoting affordable energy. 
Energy4US has close ties to the industry group. According to internet domain records, Victor Adams, listed as an AFPM web manager, registered in 2015 using his work email address. Energy4US lists the group as a coalition member, along with about 50 other groups including energy interests, labor groups, a sheriff’s association and even a recreational fishing alliance.

The AFPM board includes representatives from Exxon, Chevron, Phillips 66, Marathon and Koch Industries. The companies all referred queries to the group.
Derrick Morgan, a senior vice president at AFPM, said the group “regularly works with policymakers, coalition groups and individuals to promote shared goals,” and also will “lead and join groups like Energy4US.”
The Department of Transportation said it was “generally aware” that there were groups urging the public to make comments through online campaigns, but said it does not regulate them.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao at the White House this year.CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao at the White House this year.CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times
House bill 1593 is just eight words long: “To repeal the corporate average fuel economy standards.” Koch Industries, a petroleum empire with interests as diverse as gasoline, pipelines, fertilizer and Stainmaster carpets, is the bill’s sole corporate backer
The measure, which would eliminate fuel standards altogether, is not expected to go far. But it underscores the company’s stance on the matter. And Koch interests are fighting that battle not only in Washington but increasingly in statehouses and even local policy meetings nationwide.
Earlier Investigative Reporting
Taking the fight over climate change to local communities

In Dearborn, Mich., at a September meeting on the Trump fuel-efficiency rollbacks, Annie Patnaude of Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-funded group, spoke in favor. “This is a step in the right direction to protect consumers and workers against government mandates that would limit choice,” she said. 
In Iowa, Americans for Prosperity joined the fight over whether to make it easier for gas stations to install chargers for electric vehicles. In Illinois, it discouraged state officials from considering subsidies for electric vehicles.
And last month an Americans for Prosperity representative trekked to a public hearing in Colorado, where regulators were thinking about becoming the 13th state to follow California’s stricter standards. The representative, Shari Shiffer-Krieger, a field director for the group, argued that people in the rugged state wanted SUVs, not tighter emissions rules. “Coloradans deserve much better,” she said.
The oil industry lost that fight. Colorado allied itself with California. 
But Americans for Prosperity said fights like these get to the heart of its free-market philosophy. “We believe in a level playing field so all Americans have the equal opportunity to succeed,” said Bill Riggs, a spokesman for the group, in a statement. The organization will keep fighting “mandates that unfairly pick winners and losers in any industry,” he said. 
On August 6, a Marathon lobbyist, Stephen D. Higley, emailed a Wisconsin state representative an explainer of American fuel economy law. The memo didn’t mince words. 
“It’s a relic,” the memo said, particularly at a time when the United States was “poised to become the largest oil producer in the world.” 
The Wisconsin representative, Mike Kuglitsch, participates in the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Koch-funded group that helps companies write model legislation for state lawmakers to use as a basis for their own laws. 

Emails obtained by the Times show that Marathon has been working with members of the legislative exchange council to build support for the Trump fuel-efficiency rollback in state legislatures and to denounce California’s power to write its own rules for cars. The emails were made public under Wisconsin’s open records law to Documented, a watchdog group that tracks corporate influence in public policy. 
California’s special authority could effectively split the American auto market in two, since 13 other states — representing roughly 35 percent of nationwide car sales — have agreed to follow California’s stricter rules. That means automakers might find themselves making cars to two competing standards.
“Who should decide what cars and trucks consumers should buy, consumers themselves or unelected bureaucrats in Sacramento, California or Washington, D.C.?” the memo sent by Marathon said.
In a statement, Bill Meierling of the legislative exchange council said that mandating fuel economy was a rule that “many state legislators believe doesn’t make sense for working Americans.” 
Just days after the emails between Marathon and the Wisconsin lawmaker, some 1,500 state legislators and other officials from across the country gathered in New Orleans to cheer on Elaine Chao, the Secretary of Transportation, at the legislative exchange council’s annual convention. Marathon sponsored the event.
The Transportation Department was determined to cut government regulations, said Ms. Chao, a former fellow at the Heritage Foundation, which has received Koch funding and has long opposed the fuel economy rules. 
Mr. Trump’s proposed rollback, she said, “ranks as one of the most significant regulatory reforms that this administration is undertaking.” The room erupted in applause. 
Rush hour traffic near Detroit, the nation’s auto capital, on a recent late afternoon.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times
Rush hour traffic near Detroit, the nation’s auto capital, on a recent late afternoon.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times
For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.
Hiroko Tabuchi is a climate reporter. She joined The Times in 2008, and was part of the team awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. She previously wrote about Japanese economics, business and technology from Tokyo.