Today during BP CEO Tony Hayward’s testimony before Congress, a Republican representative from Texas took it upon himself to apologize to Mr. Hayward for the White House’s “$20 Million shakedown.” Congressman Joe Barton’s comments are quoted below. He later recanted his apology saying “I apologize if my statements from this morning were misconstrued.” Misconstrued? I think what you said is pretty clear, Congressman.
“I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday, I think it is a tragedy in the first proportion that a private corporation 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 legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the American people, participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that’s unprecedented in our nation’s history, which has no legal standing, which I think sets a terrible precedent for our nation’s future.
I’m only speaking for myself. I’m not speaking for anyone else, but I apologize, I do not want to live in a county where anytime a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, [it is] subject to some sort of political pressure that, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown.”
You know what I’m ashamed of? Politicians who put corporate well being ahead of the interests of the American citizens. The real “tragedy,” Congressman, is that you sit in a position of power and lend a sympathetic ear to a corporation that has single handedly destroyed a way of life for thousands of Gulf Coast residents. A corporation that was careless enough and foolish enough to let this oil spill happen. The tragedy is that the wildlife in the Gulf are drowning in a sticky toxic substance. The tragedy is that we are essentially powerless to stop this from continuing to happen.
BP needs to be held accountable for the havoc that they’ve wreaked on our land and sea. They need to pay monetarily for the people whose lives have been altered by this disaster, American people. Small businesses are currently paying the price for one corporation’s folly.
Whose side are you really on, Congressman?