Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Cantor rips Van Hollen for citing BP on DISCLOSE act

It looks like Republicans will be broadening their case that Dems are using the Gulf spill for political ends.

GOP Rep Eric Cantor is now ripping into Dem Rep. Chris Van Hollen because he cited the power and influence of BP as a reason to support the Dems' new campaign finance reform proposal, accusing Van Hollen of "using the environmental crisis for partisan ends."

This latest volley comes after Van Hollen told the Huffington Post that the DISCLOSE act, which is the House Dems' response to Citizens United, was necessary to prevent groups like BP from secretly influencing elections through shadow groups.

"We believe voters have the right to know who is spending this money because there are lots of organizations who hide behind nice-sounding names, like Americans for Cleans Oceans funded by BP," Van Hollen said.

But Cantor's office emails a statement slamming Van Hollen for citing BP -- and demanding an apology to Gulf residents. Key nugget:

"Congressman Van Hollen's comments are way out of line. Mr. Van Hollen's attempt to use the crisis in the Gulf to push the partisan and controversial DISCLOSE Act is beyond callous. "Mr. Van Hollen owes an apology to the people who are suffering in the Gulf, those working night and day to help wildlife and the environment, and every Member of this House who represents them."

The skirmish is noteworthy because it suggests Republicans think they've hit on a new way to use the spill to their own ends. Any time Dems take legislative steps to rein in Big Oil's power and influence -- energy reform, the DISCLOSE act -- Republicans will point out that the oil continues to flow, and insist that Dems focus all their energy on stopping the disaster before distracting themselves from this mission with legislative sideshows.

Also: It's a signal that the politics of oil is rapidly spreading into other disputes.

UPDATE, 5:35 p.m.: Van Hollen spokesman Doug Thornell responds:

"This is textbook Eric Cantor -- try to manufacture some bogus controversy by expressing phony outrage to distract from his indefensible position of standing with powerful special interests that are trying to purchase our democracy. The bi-partisan DISCLOSE Act increases disclosure and transparency, prevents foreign companies like BP from influencing our elections, and helps the American people follow the money in our political system. Using the environmental tragedy in the Gulf to try and score political points is pretty low, even for him."

By Greg Sargent  |  June 16, 2010; 2:26 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , House Dems , House GOPers  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Dem Challenger: I'll take down Michele Bachmann
Next: Obama told BP exec: It's all about Gulf residents

Comments

The Dems need to counter that message early on before it catches. It's not like Congress can stop the leak so there is no need for them to wait until it is stopped to do anything. That logic is just plain flawed but will catch on if they don't counter it...

Posted by: soapm | June 16, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

And of course; Republicans never used 9/11 for partisan ends.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 16, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"Any time Dems take legislative steps to rein in Big Oil's power and influence...Republicans will point out that the oil continues to flow."

Except Cantor does NOT "point out that the oil continues to flow."

Posted by: sbj3 | June 16, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans think they've hit on a new way to use the spill to their own ends"

Exactly.

They got beat to the punch. Let the whine-fest begin!

"It's a signal that the politics of oil is rapidly spreading into other disputes."

Yup. Another negative for the GOP. Truth is, oil and energy touch EVERY aspect of life. I'd hate to be a die-hard pro-oil geek right about now. They're just on the wrong side of every issue. Dems are smart to run with this politically, but substantively it is the right course to take as well.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 16, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Given the 50 million BP is putting into media relations above the table, I would like to know which front groups they are supporting from the shadows. I thought republicans were all for disclosure and straightforward advocacy...oh wait....

Posted by: srw3 | June 16, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

BP stands for Bought Politicians.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 16, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Here are the facts on the deal between Obama and BP:

* CLAIMS AND ESCROW FACT SHEET *

INDEPENDENT CLAIMS FACILITY

A new, independent claims process will be created with the mandate to be fairer, faster, and more transparent in paying damage claims by individuals and businesses.

To assure independence, Kenneth Feinberg, who previously administered the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, will serve as the independent claims administrator.

The facility will develop standards for recoverable claims that will be published.

A panel of three judges will be available to hear appeals of the administrator’s decisions.

The facility is designed for claims of individuals and businesses who have been harmed by the oil spill; local, state, tribal, and federal government claims will continue to be handled directly by BP.

The facility will decide all claims as expeditiously as possible, and in any event within the existing statutory timeframe.

Dissatisfied claimants maintain all current rights under law, including the right to go to court or to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

Decisions under current law by the independent claims facility shall be binding on BP.

All claims adjudicated under this facility have access to the escrow account for payment.

ESCROW ACCOUNT

BP has agreed to contribute $20 billion over a four-year period at a rate of $5 billion per year, including $5 billion within 2010.

BP will provide assurance for these commitments by setting aside $20 billion in U.S. assets.

BP has reaffirmed its commitment to pay all removal costs and damages that it owes as a responsible party.

It will not assert any liability cap under OPA to avoid liability.

The creation of the escrow account will provide assurance to the public that funds will be available to compensate the injured.

This account is neither a floor nor a ceiling on liability.

The escrow account is to be used to pay claims adjudicated by the independent claims facility, as well as judgments and settlements, natural resource damage costs, and state and local response costs.

VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTION FOR RIG WORKERS

BP will contribute to a foundation $100 million to support unemployed oil rig workers.

The Administration’s May legislative proposal would create a new program of unemployment assistance, modeled after the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program, to provide benefits to workers who lose their jobs as a result of a spill of national significance.

ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH MONITORING

BP has previously committed $500 million for the ten-year Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to improve understanding of the impacts of and ways to mitigate oil and gas pollution.

As a part of this initiative, BP will work with governors, and state and local environmental and health authorities to design the long-term monitoring program to assure the environmental and public health of the Gulf Region.

http://www.c-span.org/PDF/WH061610_factsheet.pdf

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 16, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, saw that fact sheet. What do we think of it?

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 16, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Greg, my thoughts: frickin amazing.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 16, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

The $100m for unemployed oil workers is a total surprise, and an amazing get.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 16, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

re Escrow account: What about restoration?

Posted by: sbj3 | June 16, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"The $100m for unemployed oil workers is a total surprise, and an amazing get."

Agreed. Other than the "get the oil off our shores" complaint, that seems to be topic numero uno to folks in the Gulf region.

And while I question their devotion to the oil industry that just destroyed their lives, we need to remember that IT WASN'T THESE PEOPLE'S FAULT. They are truly innocent, hard-working people who don't deserve to lose their jobs no matter who employs them.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 16, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

BP Board of Directors has also voted to suspend dividend payments until 2011

http://fieldnotes.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/06/16/4517655-bp-suspends-dividends

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 16, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

sbj, $$ for the environmental damage is going to come when the Feb hands BP a bill for the number of barrels of oil spilled. The escrow account was never about the restoration.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 16, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

The one thing I've been looking for is a pledge of assets (like their receivables or inventory) to collateralize the escrow. Haven't seen that yet.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 16, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Sounds alright. I guess BP wouldn't agree that the oil rig workers' lost pay would come in as "normal" damages so that's why the separate account. The $100M won't last long. And the government -- federal and state -- should be providing re-training for the rig workers so Louisiana and Louisianans can develop a new economy, not based on oil. The Shrimp & Petroleum economy is gone. And the sooner LA begins re-tolling its economy and preparing its population for a modern economy, the less pain there will be. I fear, however, that everyone is just going to sit on his hands and demand that drilling resume forthwith. That, I think, will be a big mistake. But Louisiana isn't known for its enlightened political leadership.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 16, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Sue:

"BP will provide assurance for these commitments by setting aside $20 billion in U.S. assets."

Posted by: wbgonne | June 16, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Any liability for the other companies involved? Does BP have insurance for this sort of thing?

Countdown till Bachmann and others on the right refer to BP as victims. 3, 2, 1....

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 16, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Looks like our "Negotiator in Chief" got a pretty good deal for the GOM without biting off the head of a chicken.

"It will not assert any liability cap under OPA to avoid liability."

WOW

Posted by: lmsinca | June 16, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"$ for the environmental damage is going to come when the Feb hands BP a bill for the number of barrels of oil spilled. The escrow account was never about the restoration."

Under the OPA BP is responsible for coastal restoration. The Clean Water Act fines are a separate matter.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 16, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"Does BP have insurance for this sort of thing?"

BP is self-insured.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 16, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Good post at Balloon Juice on the sober truth of the Obama WH:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/06/16/comrade-baby-bear/

"My experience with the Obama Administration has been that they play a low-key game and get things done. This frustrates progressives who want the Obama Administration to be about carthartic acts repudiating conservative world views first, and results second. In the media there will always be the contrarian need to judge any speech not by whether it achieved the Administration’s goals, but rather by a perceived lack or surfeit of emotion/policy details/ponies."

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 16, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

All, check this out, Obama departed from prepared remarks to ad lib a fascinating description of a conversation he had with BP exec:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/obama_privately_told_bp_exec_i.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 16, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

wbg, thanks. I saw that just as soon as I hit "post" ....of course. :o)

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 16, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I watched the BP guys walk into the WH and I saw some still photos of them all around a table.

Am I mistaken or is that Vin Weber with them?

Is he part of the BP legal team? Probably just misrecognizing him.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 16, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Citing a dramatic and unfolding crisis as an example of what needs to change isn't playing politics, it's facing reality.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 16, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Van Hollen should tell Cantor to go suck on an oil soaked pellican. Because Van Hollen is exactly right- the oil industry has a long history of funding shadowy groups in order to hoodwink the public.

As for this: "Yeah, saw that fact sheet. What do we think of it?"

We think that BP is probably rubbing their backsides right about now.

Posted by: lcrider1 | June 16, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

BGinChi: Ponies? Huh?

Anyway, I sure hope people are listening (but I'm doubtful). I am finding this whole political arena to be so darn childish. It's frustrating. Under "normal" circumstances, your average person would see right through Cantor's statements to the very hypocritical partisanship they represent, but today...I dunno. I just don't know how many people care enough to pay attention to who is saying what, how, when or why. So many people seem willingly gullible--or willing to ignore things that don't fit their worldview, even if those things are two inches from their noses.

Posted by: pasc1 | June 16, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

pasc, MoDo wants a pony from daddy.

And when she gets it she still cries.

Thus the riddle of her existence.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 16, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"The skirmish is noteworthy because it suggests Republicans think they've hit on a new way to use the spill to their own ends. Any time Dems take legislative steps to rein in Big Oil's power and influence -- energy reform, the DISCLOSE act -- Republicans will point out that the oil continues to flow, and insist that Dems focus all their energy on stopping the disaster before distracting themselves from this mission with legislative sideshows."

------------------------------------------

Is this a statement made by Van Hollen or is this your opinion, Mr. Sargent? The simple fact is that Van Hollen WAS using the oil spill for his own partisan political agenda. You and many posters have turned that very accusation on Rep. Cantor.

Posted by: bethg1841 | June 16, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

cantor is just crying because Obama is better at this "politics thingy" than cantor ever could be

in cantor's defense, the fool is trying to defend the indefensible

that IS cantor's own fault

but it's all the defense that this hapless putz has

Posted by: nada85484 | June 17, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company