Gas Chiefs File Complaint Over Yoko Ono’s Campaign Group

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April 2, 2013 | 7:36am EST

Yoko Ono is facing a new challenge in her crusade against fracking after executives of an American oil and gas association accused her campaign group of breaking lobbying laws.
John Lennon’s widow and her son Sean have been vocal opponents of the controversial drilling technique and have set up a group called Artists Against Fracking, which has drawn support from stars including Susan Sarandon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Liv Tyler, Leonardo DiCaprio and Lady Gaga.
However, members of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York, a trade association for gas and oil companies, have now filed an official complaint against the group, alleging Ono has broken the law by failing to register it as a lobbying organization.
Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York, filed the official complaint with New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics last Tuesday and called for a public inquiry.
In the documents, he writes, “I understand the power of celebrity that this organization has brought to the public discussion over natural gas development, but I do not understand why this organization is not being required to follow the state’s lobbying laws… (The public ethics commission should) commence an investigation of Artists Against Fracking and its lobbying activities as soon as possible so that the public can get access to the information that it is entitled to.”
Artists Against Fracking spokesman David Fenton tells the Associated Press, “As private citizens, Yoko and Sean are not required to register as lobbyists when they use their own money to express an opinion and there’s also no lobbying requirement when you are engaged in a public comment period by a state agency… If there is a need to register, of course that will occur.”