GOP Rep. Barton: Apologizes to BP CEO for Obama ‘Shakedown’

June 17, 2010

(ChattahBox)—-In his opening remarks during this morning’s congressional grilling of BP CEO Tony Hayward, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), said he was “ashamed” that the White House extracted $20 billion from BP, a private corporation, to pay the claims of Gulf oil spill victims. It’s a political “shakedown” railed Barton.

It’s simply stunning, that Republicans are siding with BP over their own country. Barton apologized to Tony Hayward again, as he declared that “I do not want to live in a country”… in which a private company is “subjected to political pressure” and a shakedown.

Congressman Barton: Perhaps the Gulf Coast residents can chip in and buy you a plane ticket.

(Update: Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), committee chairman, disagreed with Barton’s attacks on the BP escrow fund “in the strongest possible terms.” The compensation fund “is not a slush fund,”… “it’s not a shakedown,” said Markey. “This is in my opinion, the American government working at its best,” added Markey. And he said today’s hearing is sending a “signal” to other corporations that they will be “held accountable.”

(Further Update: Rep. Barton has benefited from $1.4 million from the oil and gas industry.

(Further Update: White House Press Secretary issued a response to Barton’s outrageous attacks: declaring it “shameful” that he “seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction. Congressman Barton may think that a fund to compensate these Americans is a ‘tragedy,’ but most Americans know that the real tragedy is what the men and women of the Gulf Coast are going through right now. Members from both parties should repudiate his comments.”

(Further Update: The full transcript of Barton’s remarks is below, as well as video, courtesy of Think Progress:

BARTON: “I’m speaking totally for myself, I’m not speaking for the Republican Party, I’m not speaking for anybody in the House of Representatives but myself. But I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporate can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown — with the Attorney General of the United States who is conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do that to protect the American people — participating in what amounts to a $20 million slush fund which I think set a terrible precedent for the future.

If I called you into my office, and I had the subcommittee chairman Mr. Stupak with me who was legitimately subjecting an oversight investigation on your company and said if you put so many millions of dollars in a project in my constitutional district I could go to jail and should go to jail. Now, there is no question that British Petroleum owns this leak, that BP made decisions that objective people may question. There is no question that BP is liable for the damages, but we have a due process system where we go through hearings, in some cases court cases, litigation and determine what those damages are and when those damages should be paid.

So I’m only speaking for myself, I’m not speaking for anybody else, but I apologize, I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen for a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is again in my words amounts to shakedown. So I apologize.”



9 Responses to “GOP Rep. Barton: Apologizes to BP CEO for Obama ‘Shakedown’”

  1. Tiki on June 17th, 2010 10:43 am

    I heard this and nearly spewed my morning beer all over my monitor. This Barton clown knows who butters his bread. Tool.

  2. Dennis Weston on June 17th, 2010 10:52 am

    Markey has mispselled his name it should be Malarkey.

    His is an example of why the US will be bankrupt by the end of BHO’s presidency.

    BP never said they would not pay the costs. The White House is preforming Chicago Gangster Tactics to get what they want, and it is not limited to this Gulf disaster. And they had the nerve to call Bush overbearing.

    Perfect example of a Poll Morality. This country is in real trouble when choices are made by the flavor of the day.

  3. pj on June 17th, 2010 11:06 am

    maybe we should check to see how much money BP has contributed to Barton’s campaing in the last few years it seems like he is apologizes to his master for not being able to keep the other boys in line

  4. Brent Barkley on June 17th, 2010 11:07 am

    And why should we expect anything different from Political Oil-Whore Apologists..?

    I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that this jamoke hails from the near deepest of red states.. and where’s our apology from all the DC whores (you know who you are) on how they’ve sold out this country to the ever so incompetent pirates..?

  5. david on June 17th, 2010 11:07 am

    I am ashamed this congressman is from my state of Texas. This man should be checked out of congress immediately so he can get the job he needs from BP.
    This is a shame and a blot on Texas. He is just another so called rep. who does not represent the people anymore. he should be voted out ASAP !
    He talks of being a “conservative” who’s philosophy and ideology is hinged on so called “personal responsibility”. ….sure , not corporate responsibility. American people , or any people anywhere on this planet should not live at the mercy of corporations. Thank God for a President that will actually be an advocate for the people. I cringe at what might have been the case if this federal government was a repulican , “conservative” government. Then all the little and ordinary people that are affected by this tragedy will be at the mercy of the corporation and the forever lawsuits they would be filling , just to get redress.
    Joe Barton, shame on you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are not my rep. You represent BP.Shheeeeesh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. You know me on June 17th, 2010 11:16 am

    Are you kidding me? What’s a matter Barton, baby, are you afraid to lose some money in the stock? Or are you against taking care of your fellow americans? I bet you’d be singing a different tune if the people of Texas where the ones getting hurt. You’re a joke!

  7. Pierre james on June 17th, 2010 3:49 pm

    i been unemployed for almost two years since my company downsize went back to school at age fiftysix as an Pharmacy Tecnician Graduated and still looking for an job sitting here listing to Tony Hayward not saying anything that we dont allready know this is nothing but a dog an pony show.I feel real bad for the people on the gulf coast and hope this situation will get better,an as far as Rep Barton is concern old school politics in rare form,Texas should be ashame of itself and if your sate vote for this person in the next election you are really showing your true faces.

  8. manu on June 18th, 2010 12:08 pm

    Only goes to show how republicans maintain their status as the sultans of spin. How BP putting 20B into an escrow fund can be spun into a “shakedown” only proves that no matter what this administration does the republicans will jump at any opportunity to obstruct or at the very least label as something negative. Wait until the longshore current changes direction from the north, which happens around late September or October, then the oil starts flowing towards the Texas Gulf Coast. Mr Barton will be singing a very different tune. But by then it will all be Obama’s fault I’m sure. I think Mr. Barton was actually apologizing for Cheny, Bush, et al that are in bed with BP.

  9. Jeff Schreiber on June 21st, 2010 3:14 pm

    PJ — The largest recipient of BP cash, you should know, is Barack Obama.

    The “apology” was too darn much, but the overarching theme here–that the federal government is interjecting itself into the daily business of business too much and without oversight–is right on the money.

    Look at what happened to the bondholders at Chrysler. That’s serious stuff. Look at what happened to the CEO at GM. That’s serious stuff. And when the federal government forced the bankruptcy, hundreds of tort claimants lost everything. That isn’t right.

    Barton overstepped the line of common sense when it came to the apology. But this administration’s tendency toward thuggery must be pointed out.

    Jeff Schreiber

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