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The real shakedown: Barton is top House recipient of oil and gas donations

Conservatives embrace Barton, Biden angrily responds: It’s not a ‘shakedown’ to insist BP takes care of people who are ‘drowning’

It is laughable that Joe Barton (R-TX) has the nerve to accuse Obama or anybody of shaking down the oil industry. The Center for Responsive Politics reports on the real shakedown that occurs month after month from Big Oil’s friend on Capitol Hill:

Individuals or PACs associated with the oil and gas industry as a whole have been Barton’s biggest patron since he entered Congress, donating more than $1,448,380 since the 1990 election cycle. The figure puts him at No. 1 among all House members for donations from the industry, fifth among members of Congress and fourth among active members of Congress….

Barton’s biggest single corporate contributor, Anadarko Petroleum, is a 25 percent stakeholder in the Macondo Prospect, site of the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. Individuals and PACs associated with Anadarko have given Barton’s campaigns $146,500 since the 1990 election cycle. Political blog FiveThirtyEight highlights this fact in this report….

Additional Center for Responsive Politics analysis shows that Barton’s candidate committee and leadership PAC combined have received $1.67 million from the oil and gas industry since the 1990 election cycle.

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Of course, Think Progress reports, Conservative Pundits Rush To Defend Barton, Praise Him As Courageous:

– PAT BUCHANAN: “Barton made a very courageous statement in my judgment. “¦ To have anyone stand up and even indirectly defend [BP] and say that they were a victim of a shakedown shows some political courage.

– INGRAHAM: “I think Joe Barton, before he apologized, had a legitimate point.

– NAPOLITANO: “That is a classic shakedown. The threat to do something that you don’t have the authority to do. “

– KILMEADE: “One Congressman calling the BP compsensation fund a ‘shakedown,’ but does he have a point?

– GINGRICH: “The president is directly engaged in extorting money from a company.

– VARNEY: “It is Hugo Chavez-like, is it not? To sieze a private company’s assets.”

Here’s a video and transcript of Biden denouncing Barton’s “shakedown” comment via TP.

Vice President Biden stopped by today’s White House press briefing to talk about the Recovery Act. While there, however, reporters encouraged him address Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) apology to BP for the fact that the Obama administration is making the company set up a fund to pay individuals and businesses that are suffering because of the oil spill. Biden angrily responded to Barton, calling his comments “astonishing” and “outrageous”:

BIDEN: There’s an entire way of life in jeopardy. This is just not about jobs. This is just not about whether or not the waterfowl is polluted and you can’t “” this is an entire way of life that’s in jeopardy. And to sit there and say that we’re being “” in effect, as I understood the statement “” that he was ashamed we’re being tough on an oil company who caused the problem “” I mean, I “” look, I just think that it’s pretty important to the people of Louisiana all the way through Florida and even in his home state of Texas that people disassociate themselves from that.

JB: That’s not the role “” there’s no shakedown. It’s insisting on responsible conduct and a responsible response to something they caused. And I find it outrageous to suggest that if, in fact, we insisted that BP demonstrate their preparedness, to put aside billions of dollars “” in this case, $20 billion “” to take care of the immediate needs of people who are drowning “” these guys don’t have deep pockets. The guy who runs the local marina, the guy who has one shrimping boat, the guy who has one small business “” he can’t afford to lose $10,000, $12,000, $15,000, $30,000 a month. […]

JB: What is wrong with that? How is that a shakedown? I mean, I just “” I don’t know, I find it pretty astounding, the comment.

Watch it:

Transcript:

Q Vice President Biden, you said this is pretty much basic, and you said there’s still millions of Americans who believe that they’re in a depression still. Do you “” with that, do you believe there should be targeted approaches for minorities, particularly African Americans, as well as Hispanics and even teens, when it comes to the unemployment rate?

And also, on another subject, what are your thoughts about Mr. Barton’s comments this morning?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, since you know I never say what’s on my mind “” (laughter) “” I probably shouldn’t comment on Mr. Barton’s comment.

Q Oh, come on.

Q Please –

Q Is it that bad?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: They’re encouraging me, what can I say? (Laughter.)

MR. GIBBS: Well, okay, you should –

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Look, look “” (laughter.)

Q How big of a deal was it? (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank God my mother wasn’t around. (Laughter.) Look, guys, I find it incredibly insensitive, incredibly out of touch. The reason why I got involved in politics, the reason why the President and I ran, the President got involved, is the one primary role for government is to protect people who are being taken advantage of; protect people who are in an extreme straits and not able to take care of the circumstances themselves.

I’ve been down in the bayou area off and on for the last 36 years. My daughter went down to Tulane “” I was worried she was not going to come home. I think I know the area relatively well as an outsider. There’s an entire way of life in jeopardy. This is just not about jobs. This is just not about whether or not the waterfowl is polluted and you can’t “” this is an entire way of life that’s in jeopardy. And to sit there and say that we’re being “” in effect, as I understood the statement “” that he was ashamed we’re being tough on an oil company who caused the problem “” I mean, I “” look, I just think that it’s pretty important to the people of Louisiana all the way through Florida and even in his home state of Texas that people disassociate themselves from that.

That’s not the role “” there’s no shakedown. It’s insisting on responsible conduct and a responsible response to something they caused. And I find it outrageous to suggest that if, in fact, we insisted that BP demonstrate their preparedness, to put aside billions of dollars “” in this case, $20 billion “” to take care of the immediate needs of people who are drowning “” these guys don’t have deep pockets. The guy who runs the local marina, the guy who has one shrimping boat, the guy who has one small business “” he can’t afford to lose $10,000, $12,000, $15,000, $30,000 a month.

And so the thing the President did “” and I was so proud of him “” is when we had the meeting with BP “” and they were cooperative in the meeting. They were cooperative. He said, look, what I want you to do is take care of those people now who, if they don’t get help now, are going to be under, gone. Gone.

And I might add, this fund is not a ceiling, and people can go back to it as many times as they can prove they have been damaged and they need help. And the cleanup costs are all BP’s costs, separate, apart and above that $20 billion.

What is wrong with that? How is that a shakedown? I mean, I just “” I don’t know, I find it pretty astounding, the comment.