Saturday, June 23, 2018
Business

PunditFact: Website wrong with attack on Donald Trump, Dakota Access Pipeline

The statement

Says Donald Trump was "caught investing in (the) Dakota Pipeline before signing it."

LearnProgress.org, Feb. 8 in a headline

The ruling

A left-leaning blog asserts that President Donald Trump was busted for approving the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline for financial gain, but the facts of the case ended up being buried.

"Breaking: Trump caught investing in Dakota Pipeline before signing it," read the headline on an undated post on LearnProgress.org. The blog regularly posts items lambasting Trump and his policies.

Facebook flagged the post as being potentially fabricated as part of its efforts to weed out fake news in its users' feeds. Most instances of the story being shared on Facebook are on Feb. 8. The website did not answer our request to confirm the date.

But the implication that Trump approved the pipeline in order to profit from its construction doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

In the post, LearnProgress.org cited a Nov. 26, 2016, Associated Press report that showed Trump owned shares in two companies involved in the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,168-mile crude oil pipeline that runs from North Dakota to Illinois.

Environmentalists and American Indian tribes have opposed the route of the pipeline, and in December then-President Barack Obama blocked completion of the project.

The AP story pointed out that Trump owned between $15,000 and $50,000 in stock for a Texas company called Energy Transfer Partners. He had between $500,000 and $1 million the year before that. He also owned between $100,000 and $250,000 in stock in energy company Phillips 66, which the AP says has a one-quarter share of the pipeline.

This was considered a potential conflict of interest for the future president, but to say he was "caught" is out of bounds. He listed the information on May 2016 federal disclosure forms.

Much has been made of Trump's stock in the companies. The issue was reported on widely, as was the fact that he said he sold the shares of pipeline parent company Energy Transfer Partners last summer.

The White House has not confirmed if he still owns the Phillips 66 shares, so that remains a question mark. A Trump spokesman we contacted did not answer our questions about those shares.

In any event, the headline suggests that Trump dumped a bunch of money into the pipeline and then approved its construction, ostensibly to make a big profit from it. The time line doesn't support that.

Trump said in December, before his inauguration, that he would restart pipeline construction. He didn't have any actual power to do so until Jan. 20, well after he sold his Energy Transfer Partners stock.

He did sign an executive action on Jan. 24 to get the pipeline moving again. Construction resumed on Feb. 9, and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe challenged the pipeline in court on Feb. 14.

The headline's assertion that Trump was caught in some kind of wrongdoing by investing in the pipeline before approving it is wrong and misleading. The potential conflict of interest was known and at least partially addressed before Trump became president and restarted the project.

We rate the headline False.

Read more rulings at PunditFact.com.

Comments
President Trumpís trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

President Trumpís trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

STERLING, Ill. - As a longtime editor of small-town newspapers, Jeff Rogers has seen his industry face the collapse of print advertising, the rise of the internet and more. Today, his 18 employees work in a newsroom here that puts out two daily newsp...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Making the case for more drones

Making the case for more drones

BLACKSBURG, Va. - They considered how well everyone slept the night before. They considered the chances a military jet might scream by on a training mission. They considered the farmer in the field.Then they considered some more.After making it throu...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Published: 06/22/18
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA ó The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Published: 06/22/18
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Hereís an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the worldís electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Published: 06/22/18
Brink: Why have Floridaís working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Floridaís working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Floridaís otherwise rosy job numbers, one thatís been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Published: 06/22/18
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG ó For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Published: 06/22/18
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others donít

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others donít

TAMPA ó When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nationís housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18