Sen. McDaniel’s moves illustrate state-corporate tie-ins
The magic words to get a bill passed in the Legislature are “economic development” or “tax reform.” They worked very well in the Senate on Feb. 23, when a bill exempting sales taxes on carbon dioxide used in injections to recover crude oil from older wells passed 51-0.
Republican Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, one of the key backers of the measure, has admitted that the bill primarily benefited Denbury Resources, based in Plano, Texas, with offices in Laurel that substantially uses CO2 injections in its Mississippi operations and elsewhere.
It turns out, according to Denbury’s 2008 annual statement, that the company, one of the largest oil operators in our part of the country, also has a virtual monopoly on the huge CO2 reservoir located in Rankin County, a more recently discovered Mississippi natural resource.
McDaniel, elected in 2007 in a virtually safe Republican Senate district in Jones county, is an attorney in a Laurel law firm which does work for Denbury Resources. The Senate district was created during the regime of Republican Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck. Incidentally, Denbury contributes to the Jones County Republican Party.
The politically resourceful McDaniel also does an hour- long opinion talk show on a Laurel FM station, for which the Jones County Republican Party is one of the sponsors. Some locals in the Laurel area have questioned how it was that the Federal Communications Commission did not yank McDaniel off the air during his 2007 election campaign.
It said that the Laurel law firm in which Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, is a member “does work for Denbury Resources.” The law firm and a Denbury official said the firm has not done any work for Denbury since 1996. At that time, according to McDaniel, he was still in law school.
It said McDaniel was “one of the key backers” this year of a bill to exempt sales taxes on carbon dioxide used to recover crude oil from older wells. Senate records indicate McDaniel was not a sponsor of the bill, and he said he did not speak on its behalf either in committee or on the floor of the Senate. He voted for the bill as did 50 other senators.
It said McDaniel “does an hour-long opinion talk show on a Laurel FM station, for which the Jones County Republican Party is one of the sponsors.” The talk show airs out of Hattiesburg, and McDaniel has not been a host of the show since his election to the Senate in November 2007. In addition, the Jones County Republican Party is not a sponsor of the show. The county party chairman, John Parker, was a partial sponsor of the show from March through May 2007, but he said he did so with his own money, not the party’s.
The Commonwealth regrets the inaccuracies and apologizes for any misperception they may have created.
Greenwood Commonwealth and Daily Journal