WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is being pressed to convene congressional hearings into whether the White House broke the law in its plea for Saudi Arabia to postpone a cut in oil-production until after the midterm elections.
“This is a very serious allegation. One that, if true, may very well constitute an illegal solicitation of a foreign in-kind contribution by the White House on behalf of Democrats’ midterm campaign efforts,” Rep. Tom Tiffany wrote Pelosi this week in a letter seeking the probe.
The Wyoming Republican asked for the investigation after the White House admitted Thursday it had asked Saudi Arabia to delay the OPEC+ vote to cut oil production until the cartel’s next meeting on Dec. 4. The group of oil-producing nations, including Russia, is led by the Saudi government.
Now, Tiffany wants Pelosi to convene congressional hearings to explore whether Biden “pressured the kingdom to delay a planned cut in oil production to impact the outcome of the 2022 election.”
While Tiffany “doesn’t want to jump the gun and say it was a quid pro quo just yet,” he believes it is the House’s responsibility to “investigate it to determine if it was one,” his communications director Caroline Briscoe told The Post.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Thursday confirmed the White House had pressed Saudi Arabia to delay the decision that surged oil prices and is bound to increase Americans’ pain at the pump.
“We presented Saudi Arabia with analysis to show that there was no market basis to cut production targets, and that they could easily wait for the next OPEC meeting to see how things developed,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
His words came a day after the Saudi Foreign Ministry outed the Biden request in a statement insisting the OPEC+ move to reduce production by 2 million barrels per day beginning next month was made in “a purely economic context.”
“The kingdom clarified through its continuous consultation with the US Administration that all economic analyses indicate that postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month … would have had negative economic consequences,” the ministry said.
The battling narratives followed White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s Tuesday revelation that Biden is “reevaluat[ing]” the US-Saudi relationship following the decision that she said indicated the kingdom is “align[ing] their energy policy with Russia’s war aims and against the American people.”
“The president has been very clear that United States needs a different sort of relationship with Saudi Arabia,” she said at the time.
In his Thursday letter, Tiffany asked the leading House Democrat to determine “what specific request were made regarding Saudi or OPEC+ oil production” and petition the White House to release transcripts of any calls over the past 30 days between Biden, Vice President Harris or other senior administration officials and Saudi representatives regarding oil production.
He also asked Pelosi to task House committees with identifying “any Biden administration official who may have asked any Saudi government official to delay any oil production cut until November or later.”
“It is the House’s responsibility to exercise its oversight responsibilities and get to the bottom of these troubling reports as soon as possible,” he said.
The Speaker had yet to respond to the letter by Friday afternoon – and Briscoe said Tiffany’s office is “doubtful” she will.
“But we sure hope she does as these are serious allegations,” she said.
Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.