There’s a lot of attention being paid today to the fact that former Pennsylvania Governor-turned-fracking-champion Ed Rendell has some skin in the drilling game that he hasn’t disclosed as he pushes Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow the controversial natural gas drilling process in the Marcellus Shale.

Pro Publica reports that Rendell, who has now called on Cuomo to green light fracking both in the pro-fracking NY Post (he said the governor would be “crazy” not to do so back in November 2012) and the Daily News (an OpEd that ran yesterday), has worked as a paid consultant to Element Partners, a private equity firm with investments in the natural gas industry and a focus on so-called “clean” technologies.

Asked about this apparent conflict, which he did voluntarily disclose, Rendell told ProPublica the DN “should have included ” the information. But he also said he isn’t actually conflicted because he does not own equity in Element Partners or any fracking companies.

Not to take any of the well-deserved credit away from ProPublica, but I did bring this issue up with Rendell when I interviewed him on CapTon early last December.

He was notably not happy with me for asking about his relationship with Element Partners, saying: “I’m a consulant to them, but I don’t have any direct…They pay me a $30,000-a-year consulting fee. I do not get anything…I believe that environmentally safe drilling can occur.” (Actually, Rendell was notably not happy throughout the interview, and spent a lot of time talking over me. But we’ll let that one go).

The Element Parnters website lists Rendell as an “operating partner” and describes him as “a longtime proponent of clean energy and ‘green economic growth.'”

Daily News opinion editor Josh Greenman told ProPublica he was unaware of Rendell’s relationship with Element Partners, and had been assured by the former governor’s representative that there was no conflict. “Had I known, I certainly would have disclosed that and conceivably would have made a different judgment on the piece,” he said.

The DN has since added a disclosure line to Rendell’s OpEd that reads:

“Rendell is a paid consultant to Element Partners, a private equity firm with  stake in a number of energy companies, including hydrofracking/natural gas interests. This information was not disclosed at the time his op-ed was submitted to the News.”

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