Thursday, July 29, 2010

Johnson fails to sell BP stock

Originally posted at

Ron Johnson continues to profit through his BP stock holdings...and he’ll likely continue to do so for some time.

Earlier this month, Johnson, the Republican-endorsed challenger to Russ Feingold in this year’s U.S. Senate race, announced he was intending to sell off his BP stocks. The move came after some financial disclosures of Johnson’s were made public, causing some to be skeptical of his commitment to the people of Wisconsin.

Johnson had previously expressed support for drilling anywhere oil could be found, including the Great Lakes region. When it was discovered that Johnson held hundreds of thousands of dollars in BP stock, it raised concerns about conflicts of interest between the oil giant and the GOP candidate for Senator.

So Johnson tried to stave off those concerns by insisting he would be putting his stock options into a “blind trust” on July 9. Days later, that changed when Johnson decided he could use the money from his BP stock to help fund his campaign.

This week, however, Johnson again changed his mind, announcing that he’s delaying the sale of his BP stock, not sure if he’s going to do it or not quite yet.

All this back-and-forth sounds very wishy-washy. Why is Johnson hesitant to sell off his BP stock? Is it because he wants to make a few extra bucks for use on his campaign? Johnson is already a wealthy millionaire, poised to outspend Feingold by huge margins. How much more money could he possibly need to buy this election, to continue funding advertisements that are lacking any truth to them?

It’s pretty clear that Johnson is basing his policy decisions around his own personal stock options. When he defended the actions of BP, and when he insisted that we should drill for oil in the Great Lakes region if the oil was there, it was likely due to the fact that he owned those hundreds of thousands of dollars in BP stock. Now, having failed to put his stocks in a blind trust, and having failed to sell of the BP stock like he promised, one has to wonder just how reliable candidate Johnson would be as Senator Johnson. When he tells us he’s going to support a certain initiative, can we trust him? Or will he go back on his word?

The people of Wisconsin have rarely had to guess as much with Sen. Russ Feingold. He’s been a true champion of protecting the Great Lakes and the environment overall since first taking office in 1993. With Feingold in office, Wisconsinites can be confident that they have a U.S. Senator in Washington watching out for their interests, especially on environmental issues like the preservation of Wisconsin’s natural resources.

If Ron Johnson takes Feingold’s seat in November, will Wisconsin citizens remain as confident in their Senator? Not very likely. It’s not a problem that Johnson owns stock in BP – he’s free to invest in whatever company he wants to. But the fact that his support for drilling anywhere (including the Great Lakes) in the wake of the biggest environmental disaster we’ve seen in the past few decades (perhaps ever), shows just how out of touch he is with the average Wisconsin voter, choosing to support policies with his billfold in mind rather than your best interests. His wavering stance on whether he’ll sell his stock, put it in a blind trust, or simply keep it, is troubling as well – he can’t make good on a promise he’s made to the people he hopes will elect him.

Johnson can’t be trusted with helping to protect Wisconsin’s environmental resources, much less vote with the people’s interests at heart. We need a senator with a proven track record of doing that. We need to re-elect Sen. Russ Feingold.

No comments:

Post a Comment