Trump taps climate change skeptic as
energy adviser, pushes back on taxes
Send a link to a friend
[May 14, 2016]
By Valerie Volcovici and Emily Flitter
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Donald
Trump on Friday picked a prominent climate change skeptic to help him
craft his energy policy and pushed back against renewed calls that he
release his income tax returns - saying his tax rate is "none of your
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the end of
a campaign rally in Eugene, Oregon, U.S., May 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jim
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee is seeking to
build out his policy proposals as he pivots from campaigning for his
party's nomination to a likely general election matchup with
Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Among those he has asked for help is U.S. Republican Representative
Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, one of the country's most ardent oil
and gas drilling advocates and climate change skeptics. North Dakota
has been at the forefront of the U.S. shale oil and gas boom.
Trump's team asked Cramer, who has endorsed Trump, to write a white
paper, or detailed report, on his energy policy ideas, according to
Cramer and sources familiar with the matter.
Cramer said in an interview that his white paper would emphasize the
dangers of foreign ownership of U.S. energy assets, as well as what
he characterized as burdensome taxes and over-regulation. Trump will
have an opportunity to float some of the ideas at an energy summit
in Bismarck, North Dakota on May 26, Cramer said.
The senator was also among a group of Trump advisers who recently
met with lawmakers from Western energy states, who hope Trump will
open more federal land for drilling, a lawmaker who took part in the
A spokeswoman for Trump's campaign did not comment.
Environmental groups, and Clinton's campaign, quickly attacked Trump
for tapping Cramer.
"Kevin Cramer has consistently backed reckless and dangerous schemes
to put the profits of fossil fuel executives before the health of
the public, so he and Trump are a match made in polluter heaven,"
Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce said in an emailed
The Clinton campaign also criticized the move.
“Donald Trump’s choice of outspoken climate (change) denier Kevin
Cramer to advise him on energy policy is just the latest piece of
evidence that letting him get near the White House would put our
children’s health and futures at risk," said campaign spokesman
Trump has been light on the details of his energy policy, though he
recently told supporters in West Virginia that the coal industry
would thrive if he were president. He has also claimed global
warming is a concept "created by and for the Chinese" to hurt U.S.
Clinton, meanwhile, has advocated shifting the country to 50 percent
clean energy by 2030, promised heavy regulation of fracking, and
said her prospective administration would put coal companies "out of
'NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS'
Trump also took heat on Friday for not releasing his tax returns,
something that American presidential candidates have done for
decades. Clinton and her rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont,
have both released their returns.
[to top of second column]
Trump has said the Internal Revenue Service was auditing his returns
and he wanted to wait until the review was over before making them
public. "It should be, and I hope it's before the election," Trump
told ABC's "Good Morning America."
Pressed on what tax rate he pays, Trump refused to say. "It's none
of your business," he said. The candidate has said there is nothing
voters can learn from his tax filings.
Tax filings show sources of income, both from within the United
States and other countries, as well as charitable giving,
investments, deductions and other financial information.
The IRS declined to comment on whether Trump or any other
presidential candidates were being audited.
However, the Trump campaign earlier this year released a letter from
his attorneys saying his personal tax returns have been under
"continuous examination" from the IRS.
This week, Clinton began calling on her probable Republican rival to
release his returns. Last August, the former U.S. secretary of state
posted the past eight years of tax returns for her and her husband,
former President Bill Clinton, on her website. Sanders released his
2014 return in April.
Presidential candidates have a long history in the modern era of
releasing their tax returns.
"In 1976, Gerald Ford did not release his returns, but he did
release some information about his taxes," said Joseph Thorndike,
director of the Tax History Project at Tax Analysts, a nonprofit,
nonpartisan group that provides tax news and analysis.
"That was the last time that a major party nominee hasn’t done it,"
(Reporting by Megan Cassella and Susan Heavey; Writing by Luciana
Lopez; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Richard Valdmanis)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.