Many small-government Republicans are now screaming for massive federal involvement in Gulf oil spill mitigation. These GOP free-market fundamentalists and devout deregulators are currently calling for the scalps of BP’s CEO and board members.

Not so Congressman Joe Barton (R, TX-6). He apologized to BP’s CEO for the U.S. Government’s “shakedown” of the multinational oil corporation, the Administration’s insistence on a $20 billion escrow account to address claims by Gulf fishermen and others whose incomes are affected by BP’s blundering oil spill. Mr. Bolton has received an annual average of $80,000 in campaign donations from oil companies over two decades. This is an election year, and Mr. Bolton has racked up $100,000 in oil company contributions so far.

Republican leaders conducted a shakedown of their own, telling Joe Barton to retract his statement if he wanted to keep his post as ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Grudgingly, he did.


“‘Misconstrued’ Barton got his ‘shakedown’ talking point from a conservative caucus press release,” Alex Pareene, Salon.

“GOP lawmaker demands Barton step down from top committee spot,” Michael O’Brien, The Hill.

“Tea partiers wary of regulation, even in BP spill,” Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press, via Google.

“Ripping the populist mask off GOPBP,” Joe Conason, Salon.

“Message underlying Joe Barton’s BP apology reflected GOP’s stance,” Tom Benning, Dallas Morning News.

“An oily wave of GOP pollution,” Joan Walsh, Salon.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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