Left hand, meet right hand

DC Bureau, a nonprofit investigative news outlet, reports that Congressman Maurice Hinchey is denying knowledge of his wife's recent work on behalf of a Texas landmen's organization.

For at least two years of their marriage, Hinchey’s wife, Allison Lee, 47, who was previously his district office representative and administrative aide, represented members of the Forth Worth-based American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL). AAPL members came to New York to work for energy companies acquiring gas leases from property owners.

Hinchey and Lee were married in 2006. DC Bureau reports that Lee worked for the AAPL until at least 2008.

There's a great anecdote in the story about a meeting between Lee, AAPL representatives, officials for the New York Farm Bureau, and Ashur Terwilliger, head of the Chemung County Natural Gas Coalition and president of the Chemung County Farm Bureau.

Terwilliger said he sat quietly as the conversation transitioned into technical aspects of drilling but spoke when an AAPL representative talked about the organization’s integrity: “I said ‘You know, if I run a national organization, I wouldn’t let my men go out and tell the stories they tell and have the fake maps they have…lying to the landowners, coercing them…’”

Hinchey has been one of Congress's loudest voices demanding greater oversight of the gas drilling industry, and has been a major advocate of the FRAC Act, a bill that would subject natural gas drilling to federal regulation.