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Will Joe Barton support a criminal case against BP?

While Texas GOP Rep. Joe Barton’s professed shame is almost beyond ridicule, there are still some fascinating twists in the mea culpa he offered BP last week that haven't been discussed enough. “I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, is subject to some sort of political pressure,” said Barton.

What does Barton mean when he says "legitimately wrong"? Who decides? The congressional hearings themselves are, in part, charged with determining the nature of BP's guilt, as is the attorney general’s investigation. But, at the very least, Barton implies some kind of negligence on BP's part. The question becomes: Should the Energy and Commerce Committee or the AG deem BP’s “legitimately wrong” mistake to be “criminal,” will a law-and-order Republican such as Barton support hauling the corporation before a judge to be held accountable?

By Katrina vanden Heuvel  | June 21, 2010; 11:28 AM ET
Categories:  vanden Heuvel  | Tags:  Katrina vanden Heuvel  
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Comments

Of course, Barton would support lawful criminal charges. His shame was the unlawful act of Obama insisting on a $20 billion "escrow" amid the calls from Congress to unlawfully seize BP's assets.

Perhaps you should try to find a few law-and-order Democrats.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | June 21, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Will Joe Barton support a criminal case against BP?

==========================================

If violations of the law are clear and the investigation is done properly why wouldn't he?

As with her post trying to link former VP Cheney, there's no "there" there.

Posted by: bbface21 | June 21, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Can't help wondering what Joe Barton and the Rand Pauls out there would have Obama do? Would they allow BP 20 years like the EXXON disaster-to reimburse the losses of the gulf coast people? Would Joe Barton really want to see the coast's resorts, restaurants, fishermen and their employees file a suit that may(after appeals)get some attention in a decade or more? I'm guessing that answer is "Yes". It's no loss to Joe Barton when those local small businesses loose their mortgages, their motels, or their boats. It's sad when a congressman's priorities are so out of touch with the average American.

Posted by: MYMO | June 21, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

What continues to amaze me is that everyone's focusing on Barton's scurrilous apology, when he was mouthing almost verbatim the language of the 100-plus-member Republican Study Conference, who called it a "shakedown" on their web site. Why isn't anyone questioning Cantor & his cronies about whether THEY agree with that description?

Posted by: bigfish2 | June 21, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Skank - typical fat cats who align themselves with business interests rather than PEOPLE because they desire to line their pockets... It just amazes me that some (ahem - the right) can be so cruel towards people and yet be so smitten with corporate america. Such a shame.

Posted by: ANTGA | June 21, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

It still amazes me how fast we have been to investigate criminal charges against BP, but we still haven't seen action against those who caused the financial crisis. I'm glad we're going after BP, but what about those who caused so many Americans to lose their homes? They should also be held accountable. Marshall Auerback gets at this issue really well here: http://www.newdeal20.org/2010/06/21/where-have-all-the-investigators-gone-12860/

Posted by: BryceCovert | June 21, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Obviously you have decided that it (whatever it is) illegal. Now who is going to support charges against the administration for tainting any criminal charges against BP. They cannot get a fair trial (remember that American tradition) anywhere in the US now thanks to the government (read President) already declaring them guilty. Our current government (and mainstream media) are the most incompetent in the history of the U.S.

Posted by: staterighter | June 21, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Attention - BP has admitted their guilt a month ago. That said. NOW - those people currently damaged in the gulf won't have to go out of business or file for bankruptcy while waiting two decades for the Big Oil appeals process. If it was your restaurant, fishing boat or bait sales store-you'd be glad for that relief. Ref: EXXON Valdez.

Posted by: MYMO | June 21, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Republicans = Corporate Lackeys.
Government-subsidized Corporate Lackeys.

It's time for Americans to start paying the TRUE cost of oil and gas.

Posted by: thebobbob | June 21, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

"Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere." - Thomas Sowell.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | June 21, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

“I do not want to live in a country..." Feel free to move elsewhere, Mr. Barton.

Posted by: colton | June 22, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

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