When members of Congress take the cane to BP they might want to slip some hefty padding down their own trousers. A glimpse at the assets of the assorted senators and representatives directly involved in the hearings about the oil spill uncovers something not irrelevant – many are big holders of BP stock.
Fred Upton, the top Republican on the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, has nearly $100,000 (£67,500) invested in BP. Put them altogether and those leading the Deepwater Horizon inquiries own $14.5m in oil and gas industry stock, of which at least $400,000, though probably much more, is accounted for by shares in the three main companies tied to the spill – BP, Transocean and Anadarko Petroleum.
Once a year members of Congress are obliged to reveal all of their financial holdings but can do so by pointing to wide ranges of valuations. No specific numbers are required. The day for detailing their personal fortunes fell this week and the Washington Post was first to see who among those now excoriating the industry have been happily profiting from it.
At the end of last year, Senator John Kerry, who sits on the Senate Commerce Committee, had assets totalling at least $6m in a dozen oil concerns, including BP and Royal Dutch Shell. The family trusts of his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, had up to $750,000 of BP stock. The House Republican leader, John Boehner, held BP stock worth $50,000, the paper found.
A spokeswoman for Senator Kerry said his holdings presented no conflict of interest. "Senator Kerry has been the Senate's best environmental champion for more than 25 years," she said.Reuse content