So, even the Republican leadership felt that Rep. Joe Barton went a little overboard yesterday and forced him (by threatening to take away a powerful position he holds) to apologize. Which he did - sort of. He apologized for using the term "shakedown".
Why is this man so intent on defending the indefensible? Well, aside from the $27,500 BP has paid him over the years, he's gotten enough from other oil companies to total out at about $1.5 million.
And - and - he owns a gas well - which has already earned over $100,000 from his investment. At a hearing in January (2010) 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." Uh, huh. In an interview, he also said, "I'm trying to provide a little bit of financial security for my family and do it honestly, ethically and openly". Okay . He purchased his interest from longtime friend and Texas businessman Walter G. Mize.
Mize had been a longtime cattleman, when he suddenly bought out Lothian Oil (based in Texas) which at that time had assumed all debt for United Heritage Corporation. Mize immediately became the CEO and Chairman of the board for UHC - which owns land in Texas and New Mexico which had an aprox. 275 million barrels of oil underneath it --- and lots and lots of Natural Gas.
For his part, Rep. Barton acknowledges paying somewhere between $15,000 and $50,000 for his interest in the wells. All this just happened to occur in 2007 (Mize died in 2008) when the price of natural gas skyrocketed from about $7 to nearly $11 per thousand cubic foot. Gee, that's the same time frame that BP (out of its Texas offices) manipulated the price of natural gas, for which they paid a $303 million + fine.
Ah, sweet mysteries of life.