Earlier this week, news hit the airwaves that Dallas billionaire and oil tycoon Kelcy Warren is suing Beto O’Rourke for defamation. Warren is the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners. On the campaign trail, Beto had pointed explicitly to Warren and Energy Transfer for profiting off of the 2021 winter storm, which killed hundreds of people in Texas when the lights went out. Shortly after the regular legislative session, Warren gave Greg Abbott a $1 million check. Again, on the campaign trail, Beto has spoken about this level of corruption and bribery.
Warren is playing an innocent civilian who is having his name drug through the mud.
Let’s look at the facts.
- Both electricity and gas were in short supply during the blackouts, and both could be sold at a premium. State regulators cap the price for wholesale electricity in Texas. There is no such market control for gas, which increased hundreds of times its expected value.
- That price hike let companies like BP, Kinder Morgan, and Energy Transfer Partners make billions. (If gas stations raise their prices from $2 to $5 during a hurricane, they go to jail for price gouging. However, Texas authorities seem to be just fine with natural gas providers raising prices from $2 to $200 during a cold snap.)
- Because of price gouging, Energy Transfer Partners made $2.4 billion during the freeze.
- During the 87th Legislature, Republicans passed a bill that would require energy companies to weatherize their equipment. However, it was just posturing since they included a clause which these energy companies can pay a $150 fee and not weatherize.
- Weeks after the legislative session ended, Warren gave a $1 million check to Greg Abbott.
In my research, I have been unable to find any indication that Ken Paxton or the State of Texas has taken any steps to hold Energy Transfer Partners or other price gougers responsible.
Not only does Greg Abbott have a long history of taking money from big oil and big donors to do them favors, but Kelcy Warren has a scandalous history of his own.
Who exactly is Kelcy Warren?
Kelcy Warren has been in the oil and gas industry for over 40-years and founded Energy Transfer Partners in 1995. When energy trading giant Enron collapsed in 2001 — and $2.1 billion of employee retirements with it — Warren bought its pipeline holdings at a discount, allowing him to profit on others’ misfortunes.
2021 isn’t the first time that Kelcy Warren has been accused of price gouging.
In 2005, Warren and Energy Transfer Partners attempted to profit in Houston off of Hurricane Rita by manipulating natural gas prices and taking advantage of the mass evacuations. He was later sued by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Energy Transfer Partners took a short position on the Houston Shipping Channel’s (HTC) October 2005 financial basis swap. As residents fled in advance and the wake of the storm, demand for gas plummeted and sent prices down. Then Energy Transfer Partners stockpiled gas around Rita to deliver to HTC post-storm, attempting to drive down demand and gas prices further and make good on their wager that prices would dip.
Between 2003 and 2009, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accused Energy Transfer Partners of similar misdeeds multiple times.
Those incidents were just a blip compared to what ultimately put Kelcy Warren on the map.
Remember several years back, towards the end of Obama’s term in office, that evil ass oil company that was going to run an oil pipeline through the only water supply of the Standing Rock Reservation. Energy Transfer Partners was that evil-ass company, and Kelcy Warren was its mastermind.
The 1,200-mile long pipeline, operational since 2017, runs from Northwest North Dakota to Nederland, Texas. Standing Rock went to the United Nations and pleaded for help, citing the 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux.
Unsurprisingly, the United States government-backed Energy Transfer Partners violated the long-standing treaty between America and Indigenous Americans. What came from those protests and was later broadcast worldwide was an unwarranted use of violence against Indigenous Americans led by Energy Partners and the American Government.
Around this time, after being one of the biggest donors to Governor Abbott‘s first gubernatorial campaign, Abbott appointed Warren to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
Republicans always hand the keys to inmates of the asylum.
Then, our president, President Barack Obama, threw Standing Rock a lifeline.
After the 2016 election, before Trump was sworn in, President Obama blocked the Dakota Access Pipeline.
While it took a few years for Warren to become well-known in political circles, all roads of corruption led back to Governor Rick Perry in Texas.
During the 2016 presidential election, Warren was Perry’s campaign finance chairman and donated $6 million to Perry through the Opportunity and Freedom PAC. During this time, Rick Perry was on the board of directors of Energy Transfer Partners.
Perry joined Energy Transfer Partners in 2015, which would explain why he wanted to do away with the Department of Energy (even though he couldn’t name the Department of Energy).
Warren was a campaign donor to Perry as far back as 2010 and to Greg Abbott as far back as 2006.
As we all know now, Rick Perry ultimately didn’t become the Republican nominee for president in 2016. Instead, that honor was bestowed on Donald Trump.
Kelcy Warren and Donald Trump.
Once Trump became the Republican nominee, Warren threw hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trump’s campaign. But as it turned out, Trump had previously invested between $500,000 and $1 million in Energy Transfer Partners. So while a Trump spokesperson reported that Trump divested from the oil company, we all know there is little truth with what Trump says.
Around the 2016 election, Warren was banned from Twitter over multiple racist comments regarding Indigenous Americans.
Trump’s presidency was all about burning the house down, which is why he named Rick Perry as the Department of Energy Secretary.
When that happened, many of us laughed, “Rick Perry can’t even name the Department of Energy; now he’s going to lead it. Haha.”
But Trump didn’t put Perry in that position because he was stupid. He put Perry in that position because of Perry’s direct ties with Kelcy Warren and Energy Transfer Partners.
On his third day in office, Trump signed an executive order to advance the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Not only did Trump advance the Dakota Access Pipeline, but also restarted the Keystone Pipeline, which had zero benefits to America. It didn’t matter to Trump that the oil pipeline threatened federally protected water rights belonging to the Standing Rock Sioux and had the potential to poison the water supply of 18 million people. It didn’t matter to Trump that the pipeline would destroy the sacred sites of the tribe. But such was Trump and his regime.
Naturally, this sent Energy Transfer Partners’ stock soaring. In turn, Kelcy Warren donated $250,000 to Trump’s inauguration, and Energy Transfer Partners spent $270,000 lobbying on “pipeline-related issues.”
Within months of Trump signing the executive order, advancing the Dakota Access Pipeline, Kelcy Warren’s net worth tripled.
Energy Transfer Partners and the impact to the environment.
Researchers found that Energy Transfer Partners spilled crude oil over 400 times, “refined petroleum products” such as gasoline 92 times, and other flammable or toxic fluids 27 times. And many of the spills involved large amounts of oil — roughly one in four of ETP‘s pipeline oil spills involved 2,100 or more gallons of oil.
In addition, state agencies and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have issued over 100 notices of violation and non-compliance for constructing the Rover and Mariner pipelines. In 2017-18 alone, ETP and Sunoco were issued six stop-work orders by state agencies and FERC. Their construction operations violated permit requirements and rules and regulations designed to protect streams, rivers, wetlands, drinking water, historic sites, and public safety.
In 2018, Energy Transfer Partners was responsible for a pipeline explosion in Pennsylvania.
Then, in 2020, the FBI opened up an investigation against Energy Transfer Partners, indicating they got permits for pipelines through “bribery,” “coercion,” or “other illicit means.”
What about Rick Perry?
While Kelcy Warren’s best buddy, Rick Perry, resigned from his position with Energy Transfer Partners when he took the position at the Department of Energy, he became their director in 2020.
Perry began pushing for big oil in Ukraine in 2017, which entangled him in the Ukraine case that ultimately led to Trump’s first impeachment. These Ukraine deals were set up to benefit Energy Trade Partners directly.
And Donald Trump?
By 2020, Kelcy Warren had become one of Trump’s biggest donors, donating over $10 million to PACs to get him re-elected.
While Warren had a history of being a big donor for the Republican party, during the Trump regime, Warren became a mega-donor and frequently bragged about how much money he was making under Trump’s presidency.
Warren donated over $200,000 to the RNC’s legal fund to help Trump try and overturn the 2020 election.
Warren was also the biggest donor to the PAC that which promoted Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
And, would you believe that Kelcy Warren has been a frequent donor to Senator Joe Manchin, maxing out the donation amount each time.
And in 2020, Warren held a fundraiser at his home for Donald Trump, when he spent a little more than an hour with guests who paid $580,600 per couple. About 25 attended.
Kelcy Warren and the Confederacy.
In 2017 the City of Dallas removed the Jim Crow-era statue honoring Robert E. Lee from the city park.
Wouldn’t you know, that racist statue wound up on a golf resort in South Texas owned by Kelcy Warren. Nothing says golf like an ode to white supremacy.
On top of that, a ProPublica investigation discovered that Kelcy Warren hasn’t paid income taxes in years.
While there is so much more than this one man has done to hurt Americans and the environment, the one thing that is clear, more than anything, is that his lawsuit against Beto O’Rourke is total bullshit.
Warren tries to present himself as a private citizen who Beto is unfairly characterizing. But let’s look at the facts.
- As a Texas Parks and Wildlife commissioner, Warren became a public figure and not a private citizen.
- His countless appearances on TV (CBS, PBS, BlazeTV, and Fox Business, to name a few) prove that he is a public figure.
- Warren’s attempts to genocide the Standing Rock Sioux make him a public interest person.
- Since Kelcy Warren profited $2.4 million during an incident where hundreds of people died, then later rewarded Greg Abbott $1 million for making sure Energy Transfer Partners continued to profit, he is undoubtedly a person of public interest.
This lawsuit against Beto should be interesting, though. Since, undoubtedly, Governor Abbott will be called to testify regarding his grid handling. Get your popcorn ready!
And when you run out of popcorn, then it will be time to eat the rich!
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