Pro-Pipeline Non-Profit Does Have Ties to TransCanada

    By Annie Andrews

    Facebook / Twitter @NTVAnnieAndrews

    The DEQ is hosting informational town hall meetings on the Keystone XL pipeline this week and next. But, the non-profit Nebraskans For Jobs and Energy Independence, has beat them to the punch with free luncheons giving the group the chance to get out what they call the true information first.

    These meetings happen to be in the same cities as the DEQ's, ending Friday afternoon in Albion. But considering the DEQ's stance is one of strictly information, it begs to wonder why another group would do the same thing, unless there's more than meets the eye.

    "I think land owners want to hear the truth on the project," said Ron Kaminski about Tuesday's meeting attendance. The truth according to Nebraskans For Jobs and Energy Independence a non-profit who swears, "we don't work for TransCanada, we're a third party" as stated by Barry Rubin, the organization's spokesman is a lie.

    That's according to the Nebraska Secretary of State's office who names two TransCanada affiliates, Joe Kohout a lobbyist for TC and staffer Beth Jensen as board members. In addition, Ron Kaminski the business manager for LUINA the largest union in Nebraska tied to the pipeline is the group's founder and president.

    "There's no way TransCanada can pretend they're not part of Nebraskans For Jobs and Energy Independence," said Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska. But, the group swears by it. With 30,000 reported members across the state of Nebraska and hoping to gain more, these luncheons have a direct focus.

    "We're going to do everything in our power to make sure this project is approved," said Kaminski. Which at Tuesday's meeting included a pledge to locals, ‘if you have a grandchild or child over the age of 18 that needs work, give me their number and I'll do what I can to get them a job?' Jobs that Kaminski promised start at 27 dollars an hour for picking up trash all the way up to 50 and 100 dollars an hour for welders.

    "Not to be selfish, but I prefer to put Nebraskans to work on this project then out-of-state residents," said Kaminski in response to if he was trying to bribe locals. "It's unethical to be going around saying we'll employ your unemployed grandchild," said Kleeb. "It's just not right, it's fundamentally wrong and it just reinforces everything we know about TransCanada." She said one thing that can't be forgotten is TransCanada has a lot staked in their $7 billion dollar pipeline.

    At this lunch, Nebraskans For Jobs And Energy Independence paid $7.95 per plate and had the
    restaurant cook for 50 -- a bill around 400 dollars. That may not sound like a lot, but they had 3 other meetings just like this one and paid for their consultants. As a 501c4 this non-profit doesn't need to disclose donations or donors, so where the paycheck comes from is anyone's guess.

    To see the non-profit's filing documents with the Secretary of State's office, click here and here.

    Note* Joe Kohout has a one letter misspelling in the documents filed.

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