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Flashback: Paul Ryan And His Family To Benefit From The $45 Billion In Subsidies For Big Oil In His Budget

By Joe Romm  

"Flashback: Paul Ryan And His Family To Benefit From The $45 Billion In Subsidies For Big Oil In His Budget"

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“Congressman could indirectly gain from plan to keep oil, gas tax breaks,” reads the headline in today’s print Washington Post. Online, that’s been watered down to “Ryan family companies hold stakes in energy business interests.” Climate Progress reported this story back in June 2011 after Ryan first introduced his radical, self-serving plan.

Paul Ryan’s budget, which means austerity for most Americans, turns out to mean prosperity for Ryan and his family.

That budget, which the GOP-led House adopted as its blueprint, slashes funding for everyone from seniors to the disabled to students while preserving $45 billion in tax breaks and subsidies for Big Oil over the next 10 years, as has been widely reported.

But what we have only just learned from Ryan’s financial disclosure forms for Congress (here) that were made public this week is “he and his wife, Janna, own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan’s budget plan,” as The Daily Beast reported today.

Ryan’s father-in-law, Daniel Little, who runs the companies, told Newsweek and The Daily Beast that the family companies are currently leasing the land for mining and drilling to energy giants such as Chesapeake Energy, Devon, and XTO Energy, a recently acquired subsidiary of ExxonMobil.

These energy giants stand to profit directly from the $45 billion in subsidies and tax breaks.  How cozy!

When asked about the blatant conflict of interest, Ryan’s spokesperson offered up the newly-popular “wife” defense:

Ryan’s office says the congressman wasn’t thinking about himself or the oil companies that lease his land when he drafted the budget blueprint that extended the energy tax breaks. “These are properties that Congressman Ryan married into,” spokesman Kevin Seifert said. “It’s not something he has a lot of control over.”

Seriously.  Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said his wife vetoed his presidential run.  Now Ryan’s office says he has no control over his ethics where family is concerned.  Apparently nobody ever explained to him what conflict of interest means.

“Sure, senior citizens should have to pay more for health care, but landholders like [Ryan] who lease property to big oil companies, well, their government subsidies must be protected at all costs,” says Melanie Sloan, the director of the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “It smacks of hypocrisy.”

In fact, if Ryan had actually cared about the deficit, he would have stripped these subsidies from his budget.  Back in 2005, President George W. Bush, a former oilman, explained that the profit potential in the oil industry drives exploration, not the subsidies:  “With $55 oil we don’t need incentives to the oil and gas companies to explore. There are plenty of incentives.”  Oil prices are hovering around $100 a barrel today.

So Ryan married into four investments whose asset value is between $265,000 and $650,000.  His family’s income last year from those investments was between $36,000 and $117,000.  Talk about your nest egg.

Presumably he wasn’t thinking about those investments when he voted repeatedly this year to protect Big Oil subsidies.

Finally, no doubt it is also just a coincidence that the House Budget Committee Chairman slashed funding for the major competitors to Big Oil, eliminating billions of dollars in investments in clean energy technologies.

We can be certain that Ryan wasn’t thinking about himself or the oil companies that lease his land when he made that choice.  He never does that kind of thinking at all.

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10 Responses to Flashback: Paul Ryan And His Family To Benefit From The $45 Billion In Subsidies For Big Oil In His Budget

  1. Organelle says:

    Everyone reading this should make copies and send it to a senior, especially in Florida retirement homes. The truth has a nasty habit of crawling out from under the rug where it was swept.

    Imagine what this tip of the iceberg is compared to what is still hidden in the Romney tax returns.

  2. Leif says:

    Indeed, How many years of tax returns did Paul have to show Mittens do you think? More than two I bet.

  3. Ozonator says:

    The GOP is conserving the idea that we don’t want to see our neighbors fix their plumbing and upgrade their electric grid and would rather see the the Ryans and Vitters, Sheldon Adelsons, Rex Tillersons, and Looter Limbaughs learn from their immorality, war on women – environments – minorities, and pro-life examples of sex tours, phony wives, and toxic chemical wastes causing spontaneous abortions.

  4. Chris Winter says:

    In the latest issue of Newsweek (13-20 August), David Frum has a profoundly gloomy article entitled “America the Anxious.” It paints a discouraging picture for most of the country, from retirees to young people.

    Of course, there are some bright spots. Frum states that “studies find that portfolios owned by members of the House of Representatives outperform the market by 9 percent a year, while senators’ outperform by 12 percent.”

    When it comes to the truly rich, the sun shines even more brightly: “In the single year 2010, the top 1 percent scored an 11.6 percent increase in their earnings. Nice! But the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent gained 21.5 percent ‐ twice as much.”

    • Leif says:

      Pays to lobby, don’t it? To bad humanity can not afford to as well.

      • Leif says:

        Here I thought that a good salary with health and travel benefits and a pledge to represent “We the People” was to count for something. Silly me…

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      My fondest memory of Frum was from when Noam Chomsky gave the CBC ‘Massey Lectures’. During questions, a querulous chap attempted to embarrass Chomsky by questioning his support for the Palestinians by accusing him of doing nothing for other groups, like the Kurds. After Chomsky reeled off a list of actions he had undertaken on behalf of the Kurds, the cheeky chappy withdrew to well-merited obscurity. Imagine my surprise years later when I saw film of the encounter, and the questioner turned out to be Mr Frum. I hear he has reinvented himself as a ‘moderate’. It is to laugh.

  5. CW says:

    Corporate whore. Just like his whole party. And way too many Dems too.

  6. Although it’s only Friday morning, I am willing to stick my neck out and say that I think the most disturbing thing I’ve heard this week is this: The Romney-Ryan campaign has accepted $10 million from big oil. The platform the GOP has unveiled promises to de-regulate oil and gas companies to an extreme that will allow relatively unregulated drilling and fracking — not only off our beaches but i
    n our national parks. YES, OUR NATIONAL PARKS! Voters will be told it is “necessary” to de-regulate in order for North America to become self-sufficient in energy production by 2020, even though many energy experts believe this impossible. [Canada, which is already self-sustaining, cannot provide its citizens lower gas prices at the pump because oil and gasoline prices are set in a world-wide market.] At the Republican National Convention, voters will be told that we can produce enough oil to provide for our needs, but experts say NO for a variety of reasons. If all that weren’t bad enough, the Romney-Ryan plan proposes to reduce or eliminate government incentives for companies that develop renewable, wind, and solar technologies. If using government to destroy big oil’s competition isn’t vile enough …. if lying that we actually have a chance to produce enough oil to power the nation and reduce the cost of energy for real people isn’t vile enough, if preying on voters’ anxiety/​fear about gasoline prices to trick them into voting for an impossible dream isn’t despicable enough, and if all that isn’t disturbing enough, picture the future of our national parks under Romney-Ryan-Capitalism-Gone-Wild … That is horrifying enough! I can’t imagine anyone voting for the Party of Unbridled Greed, for more profits for big oil with NO improvement at the pump whatsoever in exchange, or for the wholesale devastation of wildlife and/or poisons being dumped onto our National Parks every time these de-regulated companies have an accident.