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Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)

The MoJo Wire (Mother Jones)

On May 13, 1993, Sen. Lieberman's wife (who in 1993 worked for the National Academy of Sciences, and who now works for APCO Associates--a DC lobbying firm) purchased between 1,000 and 15,000 dollars worth of stock in USX Corp. (formerly US Steel).

On the same day (May 13), a bill was introduced in the Senate that would cause USX some concern. The bill was S. 965: TOXIC CLEANUP EQUITY ACT...To amend the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Compensation Act of 1980 to provide relief to local taxpayers, municipalities, and small businesses regarding the cleanup of hazardous substances (Referred to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee; Not Enacted). This bill was introduced to prevent industrial polluters from passing liability onto small businesses and municipalities.

USX is very interested in any legislation regarding Superfund. In a May 19, 1993 speech to the American Iron and Steel Institute, USX's Steel Group President (Thomas Usher) noted three objectives regarding Superfund legislation-- 1) risk assessment is always grounded in sound science, 2) economic impacts are fully weighed against projected benefits, and 3) a renewed emphasis is placed on cost effectiveness.

The stock market is also interested in Superfund legislation. On March 9, 1993, the New York Times published an article that tied stock prices with pending environmental liability and Superfund; USX Corp. was cited as a specific example. Here are some direct quotes from the article:

The earnings of Smokestack America seem likely to face new setbacks because of future liabilities for cleaning up the environment, according to a Price Waterhouse survey.

The survey, which covered manufacturing companies, public utilities and extractive industries, found that 62 percent have unknown environmental liabilities that are both material and undisclosed.

That raises the question of whether the stock prices of the companies involved--particularly older, dirty companies that have been releasing pollutants for generations--properly reflect the liabilities that may come soon.

In the USX Corporation's 1991 10-K report to the SEC, there are several sections dealing with environmental problems and liabilities. Typical example: The corporation is one of 17 involved in ground-water pollution at a refinery site in Minnesota. The cost of cleanup is estimated at $55 million. USX estimates that it was responsible for only 5 percent of the waste, and thus 5 percent of the cleanup. But one of the biggest dumpers is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and those responsible for 50 percent of the waste cannot be found. Under the doctrine of joint and several liability, USX could pick up most of the tab.

POLITICAL MONEY NOTES: On June 30, 1993 (1 and 1/2 months after the stock purchase), Sen. Lieberman received $2,000 from Richard F. Lerach (a class-action attorney for USX Corp.). I believe that Richard Lerach is related to William Lerach (a class-action attorney with the San Diego firm of Milberg, Weiss, Bershad, Hynes and Lerach). William Lerach specializes in SHAREHOLDER class-action suits against firms and their management; these suits contend misinformation related to stock purchases.

MORE POLITICAL MONEY NOTES: On June 30, 1993, Sen. Lieberman received $10,000 from the Bergreen family. Bernard Bergreen is employed by the Gilman Paper Company (one of the top-three industrial polluters in Georgia). Karen Bergreen is employed by the lobbying firm Winston Strawn. Also working for Winston Strawn is former Rep. Eckart (co-author of the 1986 Superfund law). Through Winston Strawn, former Rep. Eckart is counsel to (i.e., lobbyist for) the American Insurance Association regarding Superfund legislation. In 1993, Sen. Lieberman received $2,000 from the American Insurance Association, including a $1,000 contribution on April 15, 1993 (one month before the USX stock purchase).

SPOUSE NOTES: According to a September 19, 1994 article in Roll Call, Sen. Lieberman's wife (Hadassah) now works for the lobbying firm APCO Associates. A senior Vice-President of APCO is Michael Lewan (former aid to Sen. Lieberman). APCO does lobby on legislation concerning hazardous waste (one example client--Heart of America Northwest in Seattle, WA).

NOTES: Sen. Lieberman is # 7 on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee; # 3 on the Senate Toxic Substances, Research and Development Subcommittee.

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