You remember Joe Barton, don’t you? The shameless Texas Representative – and ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee – who apologized to BP for the government’s $20 billion “shakedown” after the Deepwater Horizons disaster? Well, good ole “Smokey Joe” is back to his old ways, shilling for Big Oil.
Politico has uncovered a secret meeting where Barton and other congressmen with atrocious environmental records promised favors to Big Oil and King Coal in exchange for campaign cash, assuring them of their ascension to top Energy positions in the House.
Yesterday, Barton, Reps. Fred Upton (Mich.), John Shimkus (Ill.), Mike Rogers (Mich.) and Greg Walden (Ore.) met with about 40 to 50 industry lobbyists during an event at the National Republican Club.
Though the event wasn’t billed as a fundraiser, according to one source in the room, the lawmakers tacitly linked donations to the Energy Committee’s agenda in 2011. From Politico:
“You should be giving us money because we’re going to be in charge,” the source said. “We’ll ensure there is no climate bill.”
Barton’s apology, laden with chutzpah, put him on America’s radar. It caused quite a stir among many of his fellow Republicans.
So, you’d think after a stunt like that, Smokey Joe might want to step back from the I-fight-for-profiteering-and-environment-marauding-industries limelight. But no. Barton and his colleagues are not only flouting discretion, but their hubris is starting to rival LeBron James and “The Decision.”