Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Smokey Joe" Rakes in Natural Gas $$ While Blocking Clean Energy Reform

Talk about a conflict of interest.

Rep. "Smokey Joe" Barton (R-TX) has been raking in money from a stake he holds in a series of natural gas wells he purchased from a campaign donor.

The Dallas Morning News says it all:
Rep. Joe Barton has earned nearly $100,000 from an interest in natural gas wells that he purchased from a longtime campaign donor who also advised the congressman on energy policy, according to interviews and records.

At a hearing last month of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Barton said he was "a small, small partner in a natural gas well in Johnson County in the Barnett Shale that is probably my 4-year-old son's college education." He later told a reporter that he couldn't remember precisely how he obtained the interest.

Land records show that Barton, R-Arlington, purchased his interest from Walter G. Mize, a Cleburne businessman who donated more than $30,000 to Barton's campaigns.
At least one expert on Congress called Barton's position "unethical":
"If you are elected as a public servant to try to do what is right for the public generally and then you use that position to help bring in material wealth, I think it's unethical," said James Thurber, a distinguished professor of government at American University.
We'd also call Joe Barton's numerous distortions of climate change science -- including saying that global warming would be a "net benefit" to the economy -- unethical, but that's for another day.

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