Cheney Energy Task Force Under Investigation

The General Accounting Office is investigating the Bush administration's energy task force and its ties to the energy industry, ABCNEWS has confirmed.

The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, has launched an inquiry into the White House National Energy Policy Development Group at the request of Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee.

Administration sources say the White House is refusing to turn over certain documents to the GAO relating to the group's meetings with industry officials.

Vice President Dick Cheney headed up the task force, which formulated President Bush's plan to dramatically expand the nation's ability to produce energy. The national energy policy unveiled by the administration last month calls for increasing domestic supplies of oil, gas and coal and boosting production of electric and nuclear power.

Democrats on Capitol Hill complained about the task force's closed-door meetings with energy industry representatives and portrayed the administration's proposals as a boon to special interests, noting that Bush and Cheney were both former Texas oilmen.

Waxman has also urged the Government Reform Committee's Republican chairman, Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana, to hold hearings on the task force.

The vice president's lawyer has objected to the GAO probe on the grounds that it might intrude on executive deliberations.

The news that the investigation is underway — a development first reported by Newsweek magazine — comes as Bush's chief political strategist Karl Rove has come under scrutiny for meeting with the executives of a company he had a large financial stake in.

The AP reported last week that Rove owned at least $100,000 in Intel Corp. stock when he met privately with company officials at the White House in March. Waxman has asked Rove to detail his contacts with Intel and other companies and called for congressional hearings on the matter.

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