It was a shakedown. Let's just get it out there - Rep Barton was correct. He used a politically incorrect term and the GOP leadership freaked out over anticipation of the hay the Democrats would make of it - and they immediately sent out the fundraiser letter on it, as predicted - but Barton told the truth. And, the truth in D.C. is a rare commodity.
What would you call a meeting with the Attorney General in attendance and talk of criminal charges in play as you are told the President of the United States wants your corporation to set up a multi billion dollar escrow account for claims filed because of the oil spill? And, oh by the way, a person appointed by the President of the United States is an old crony of his and he'll will be in charge of distributing said multi billion dollars?
And, where did the number of $20 billion come from? Why not $30 billion? $40 billion? What was the formula and was it just plucked from thin air?
BP is a foreign entity. BP's first priority is to its shareholders. That is how corporations work. BP is entitled to sell assets to pay claims. BP is entitled to use the court system to settle disputes.
For the White House team from Chicago to haul in the BP executives with the number one goal to secure an 'escrow' account worth billions of BP dollars, when there is no legal standing to demand such an action, merits some truth telling.
BP is completely and entirely responsible for paying all of the damages of this disaster. No one is disputing this. BP has said from the beginning that they will pay all claims. I am no fan of BP but they have responded as a corporate entity, not as super dad. That is reality. The White House action was, in fact, a shakedown. The Obama administration is not suppose to be able to just swoop in and takeover any private corporation on a whim, to show how engaged they are in the disaster. Isn't it bad enough that they have gotten away with taking over the auto industry, the insurance industry, health care/American doctors, student loans programs, banks, Wall Street, and so on? Where does it end? It won't with this team from Chicago.
This is not to come to the defense of BP. Their actions led to the loss of eleven men on that drilling rig and injured many more. Their actions have brought destruction to the Gulf coast. Hundreds of thousands of lives are forever changed. BP's safety reputation is well known within the industry.
Let's remember that the Obama administration is in bed with BP. Big time. BP executives paid big bucks to help Barack Obama sit in the Oval Office. His own MMS director approved the plans of BP's drilling operations. Rahmbo lives rent-free in a home owned by a pollster with ties to BP and has a wife in Congress. BP was pushing the 'green energy' agenda of Team Obama. Reports are around the industry that BP is losing buckets of money on their green agenda, in pursuit of favor from Team Obama. We've all see the commercials on television.
It is in our own best interests for BP to remain financially healthy as they move forward paying claims and making things right, as we have been told they will do. Trust but verify is the best policy there. Stock prices have already slid for BP. BP has stated that stockholder dividends will not be paid out for the rest of this year. It is not only those in England holding stock in BP, many Americans do, too.
Rep Barton was immediately made into a pinata in the BP hearing over his shakedown statement. He was wrong to apologize but his term was correct. He was wrong to apologize for the actual shakedown. The escrow account is a good idea, on face value, but to think this administration will distribute the dollars with any competency is a bit of a stretch. And, as they are inclined to pick winners and losers, will they pay the claims of favored constituents before those of others? We have no guarantees. The stimulus projects have turned into a slush fund for favored groups - namely unions and government jobs - so concern is justified.
The GOP leadership reacted swiftly. The Barton committee chairmanship was on the line so he issued the mandatory apology. He apologized for the apology.
Rep Charles Boustany, (R-LA), a neighbor of ours in our former city of Lafayette, LA, said of the shakedown (my word, not his) that he wants to be sure BP is held accountable, in a transparent way. He disagrees with Barton's statement of apology to BP and glad he apologized for the apology. He said he thinks Barton was reacting emotionally not logically in apologizing to BP for the shakedown. Boutsany also calls for an end to the moratorium on deep water drilling.
Two GOP members of the House Ethics Committee are reported to be calling on Barton to step down from his committee chairmanship. These two losers need to shut up. Barton made a mistake in apologizing to BP - or as the Democrats say, "Big Oil" - and corrected his poor decision by apologizing for the apology to BP that the White House shook down the company. Let it go. And, gentlemen? Grow a pair.
BP deserves no apologies, but it was a shakedown. Or, even more correct, extortion.