House Democrats abruptly canceled Elon Musk’s scheduled Big Oil hearing

FIRST ON FOX: Democratic leadership on the House Oversight and Reform Committee abruptly canceled an upcoming hearing to investigate the spread of “climate disinformation” on social media platforms.

On November 18, Representative Roe Hanna, State of California, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environmental Control four social media executives according to documents obtained by Khanna invited Twitter’s new CEO Elon Musk, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and the heads of TikTok and YouTube to testify.

Committee Democrats blamed the cancellation of Thursday’s hearing on a miscommunication. They said leadership opted to hold a full committee hearing on Dec. 14 instead of a subcommittee hearing on the environment.

“In November, the initial proposals for the Subcommittee hearings were sent ahead of schedule, which did not meet the Committee’s hearing calendar,” a Democratic Committee spokesperson said in a statement. “The committee decided to hold a subcommittee hearing shortly after motions were sent to hold a full committee hearing on December 14.” .

DEMS plans to resume major oil hearings as gas prices cool: ‘SHAM TEST’

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., is pictured on the steps of the Capitol on Dec. 4, 2020.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images)

The subcommittee hearing was part of an investigation into a decades-long climate change disinformation campaign by oil companies, which Hanna and full committee chairman D.Y. posted a long time ago. Hanna compared the investigation to the House’s 1994 investigation into tobacco companies, which revealed a concerted campaign to cover up the harms of smoking.

Hanna said he would subpoena tech company executives to testify as part of the investigation and issue subpoenas if they refused to cooperate.


“We’ve made it clear that we reserve the right to sue if these executives don’t show up,” Hanna told E&E News last year. “We’re asking the CEO of Exxon, the CEO of Chevron, some of these fossil fuel companies and a number of social media companies to come.”

In that interview, he promised to investigate the role social media companies “have played in spreading disinformation.”

The inquiry began on October 28, 2021, with oil executives testifying and answering questions from committee members. A subsequent hearing in which oil company executives were scheduled to testify was quietly canceled in March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent energy prices soaring.

Khanna has invited Twitter's new CEO Elon Musk and other social media executives to testify at the Dec. 14 climate hearing.

Khanna has invited Twitter’s new CEO Elon Musk and other social media executives to testify at the Dec. 14 climate hearing.

The inquiry continued in September with a hearing where a number of experts and stakeholders testified about the effects of climate change.

A now-cancelled hearing with social media executives scheduled for next week would have given the Republican committee an opportunity to publicly ask questions about Musk’s recently released “Twitter files.”

Last week, journalist Matt Taibbi released internal Twitter messages detailing how the company suppressed stories related to President Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s laptop ahead of the 2020 presidential election. James Comer, the ranking member of the Oversight Committee, wrote to Twitter officials on Tuesday asking them to attend a hearing early next year on the release of the files while Republicans oversee the panel.

It’s unclear if Comer, who previously said the Big Oil investigation was a “sham investigation,” will end Hanna’s investigation after replacing Maloney as committee chairman.

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