Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the architect of the GOP budget plan, has put forth a plan that calls for ending a number of tax subsidies. However, he has hedged multiple times when asked about oil subsidies. When given the opportunity to end billions in taxpayer giveaways to big oil companies, Ryan voted to preserve the generous subsidies.
The Daily Beast’s Daniel Stone is reporting that Ryan’s protection of billions in wasteful oil subsidies may relate to his own personal fortune. Newly released personal finance disclosures reveal that Ryan and his wife “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.” Stone reports that those companies are among his most valuable assets:
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.
Some of these firms would be eligible for portions of the $45 billion in energy tax breaks and subsidies over 10 years protected in the Wisconsin lawmaker’s proposed budget. “Those [energy developing companies] benefit a lot from these subsidies,” explained Russ Harding, an energy policy analyst with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, when presented with the situation, without reference to Ryan. “Without those, they’re going to be less profitable.”
According to disclosure reports reviewed by ThinkProgress, other major proponents of extending billions in oil subsidies are also heavily invested in oil and drilling companies. For example, Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) owns up to $250,000 in ExxonMobil stock, among other fossil fuel investments.