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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Local Biodiesel Activist Fund-raising with Karl Rove?

Posted by on September 12 at 9:40 AM

When Karl Rove comes to town this Friday he’ll be attending a fund-raiser for Republican Congressman Dave Reichert in Medina—an event that is set to be hosted by John and Kathy Connors and Martin Tobias, according to Seattle Times.

Tobias is the CEO and chairman of Imperium Renewables, which develops biodiesel technology. He’s also involved in a venture-capital company with John Connors.

Here’s a blog that seems to be written by the same Martin Tobias, in which the author gripes about “Big Oil” and notes the connection between terrorism and the U.S. dependence on Saudi Arabia. Which leads one Stranger tipster to note the irony in a biodiesel activist hosting a fund-raiser with Rove, whom he sees as having helped the Bush administration launch an “unnecessary war for oil”:

I find the affiliation of one of the heads of Seattle Biodiesel with this political figure at odds with the values which attract people to biodiesel as an alternative fuel in the first place.

The state Republican Party would not comment on whether Mr. Tobias is, in fact, this Mr. Tobias. An email to the media contact at Imperium Renewables has not yet been returned. And the Reichert campaign has not yet responded to a question about Mr. Tobias.

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I can verify that the blog is indeed the blog of Martin Tobias, CEO of the biodiesel company. Mr. Tobias purchased a large piece of my art awhile back, and I was at that time directed to his blog to learn more about him (the piece was sold through a gallery, I did not meet him). It would surprise me greatly, however, that he is hosting a fund-raiser for Reichert.

So you've asked the GOP and the Reichert campaign . . . but not Mr. Tobias himself? Am I missing something here?

If you look on the left side of that biodiesel blog, you'll see an item labeled "Politics" which will take you to some entries in praise of Rick Santorum and Ann Coulter, and describing his experiences being a Republican in Seattle. He appears to be a classic Catholic family-values conservative.

Huh. Very interesting. While it's kind of disconcerting to see an anti-big-oil guy promoting the (rest of the) Republican agenda, it's nice to see a Republican thinking about alternatives to oil. I guess it just depends how you look at it.

There are enviro-activists on both sides of the the left-right spectrum, nothing new to see here.

Real people realize that the only way to win this "war" is to switch off Middle Eastern oil. Just because he's doing the right thing doesn't mean he's not a radical Bushie.

I wonder whether Mr. Tobias is associated with Reichert Report, which purports to "analyze" Sheriff Hairspray's record on the environment. The site does appears to, shall we say, err on the positive side in its analysis.

Along with others, I've been trying to track down who/what is behind that site. We've noticed its appreciable similarity to "Gerlach Facts", a site which spins the environmental record of Jim Gerlach (PA-06) in the same manner. Oddly, the Reichert domain-name is registered to someone living in Herndon VA, while the Gerlach domain's registrant is based in Seattle.

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