We all remember the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico last year of course, and most of us probably remember how BP’s offer to pay for the cleanup was deemed insufficient and that BP was required to set up a $20 billion escrow account for damage claims.
What might be less well-remembered was the short-lived accusation by DFW-area representative Joe Barton, who termed the escrow requirement a “shakedown” and had the makings of a “slush fund”, comments for which he was quickly shamed for and made to back down from.
Well, guess what great uses some of that $20 billion has been put to, per an article today in the San Francisco Chronicle?
Tasers. Brand-new SUVs. A top-of-the-line iPad. A fully loaded laptop.
The sewer department in … Gulfport [Mississippi] bought a $300,000 vacuum truck that never sucked up a drop of oil.
More than $300,000 of BP money went to Kenny Loggins, the Doobie Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd for a pair of rock shows to promote the state’s oil-free beaches; BP shelled out an additional $260,000 in concert-related costs.
And in the story you’ll find more, such as the parish that accepted a $1 million advance, then put it away and billed BP as if they’d never received any such money. Or the parish president openly second-guessing himself for not taking as ruthless advantage of the bonanza as some of his neighboring parishes.
All of which leads me back to the question: When will someone apologize to Rep. Barton?