Jo Bonner Calls for Texas Colleague to Resign Committee Post

At a Congressional hearing Thursday, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R – Texas) apologizes to BP Ceo Tony Heyward for the “Chicago-style shakedown” of the oil industry giant to the tune of $20 billion. Now U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner (R – Mobile) calls on U.S. Rep. Joe Barton to step down as the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee for apologizing to BP.

From a Friday release from Rep. Bonner:

There is no other way to say it… Joe’s comments were stupid and extremely insensitive to the hundreds of thousands of people who live along the Gulf Coast – many in my district – who are literally watching their way of life be destroyed by this catastrophe. While, admittedly, the people in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi could probably care less about what some congressman is saying at a hearing in Washington, D.C., I am confident no one along the Gulf Coast believes BP is due an apology for their role in this disaster.

Bonner is the second Gulf Coast Congressman to call for Barton to step down from the committee post, joining Florida Republican Jeff Miller.

Barton retracted his apology to BP and had called Bonner to apologize for any harm caused by his remarks, but Bonner ‘cannot walk away’:

“When a member of Congress is apologizing to a company that is raping the Gulf Coast of America, I cannot walk away from that comment easily,” Bonner told POLITICO in an interview Friday afternoon. “It is, to me, more than a 24-hour-news-cycle comment. It has consequences.”


35 comments to Jo Bonner Calls for Texas Colleague to Resign Committee Post

  • princeliberty

    Hot air from a cheap politician. Empty posing by Bonner. Bonner serves the special interests on capital hill and now gets on high horse.

    Bonner strongly supported TARP – he is the one that should resign.

  • Pragmatical

    They are both political hustlers. Barton probably is the better man because he had the guts to speak what was on his mind – unlike Bonner, who does nothing more than posture and pander.

  • Beach Lover

    Bonner needs to mind his own tongue. Barton was expressing what many others feel. While BP is responsible for the oil spill and its consequences, how does an American president have the right to make such a demand on BP or any other company? I actually have more faith in BP paying claims and working to make the region whole than I do an “independent” agency created by the government.

  • JD

    Resign for telling the truth?

  • DC

    Thank you Cong. Bonner for standing up for AL when no one else will.

  • loyal independent

    Jo Bonner needs to answer for his role in the Parker Griffith fiasco in the Alabama 5th before he gets into any other business.

  • Mr. Conservative

    Gee guys, I thought I would be the only one here–not necessarily defending Barton’s words—but expressing concern about how bad the Congressional “show trial” looked Thursday. My bottom line is this: I am much more afraid of the government making an enemy of capitialism than I am of BP getting off light. Sure, BP screwed up and will pay through the nose for it (rightly so). I am convinced however that they have every reason to stop the spill as quickly as possible and do a good job on the clean-up and compensation. (If they try to skate on this, will any American every buy BP gas again?) I just hate to see Obama and the Dems (some Republicans too) use this as a chance to villify captialism and exalt government as our “ever present help in time of need.”

  • JD

    Obama’s only interested in “skimming” Chicago style. Let the courts handle BP. I’m ashamed that a little money for his District buys off Bonner.

  • Anon

    Joe Bonner is an idiot. It IS a shakedown of BP. If you even question the validity of Barton’s initial statement, I encourage you to look at Stupak’s later statement that the money in the BP escrow account can be used to pay for Obamacare.

  • Jo must go

    This is funny as Jo never speaks out about anything. I really thought he was a Spinx. Never heard of him speaking out against govt. spending because he is one of the biggest pork barrel spenders in Congress. Because he is on the Appropriations Committee he is able to keep the bucks flowing just like the Dems.

  • Del

    I wonder how Bonner feels about the statement from the Republican Study Committee (Bonner and Jeff Miller are both members) that went out the day before Barton’s comments. “BP’s reported willingness to go along with the White House’s new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics.”

    If you’re gonna say it on Wednesday, have the integrity not to criticize somebody else for saying it on Thursday.

  • Happycamper

    Thank you Mr. Conservative. Well stated. A government that is so ingrained in private businesses is a danger to liberty. And now they are even trying to tamper with the newspaper industry in the name of “helping” (bailouts). Can’t believe all this is happening on our watch.

  • princeliberty

    The Tea Party movement has been slower to develop in Alabama that most states. But its time is coming in this state too. We are not forgetting about TARP. Bonner can ready for a much more serious challenge in the 2012 primary.

  • anonymous

    These comments reveal some of the most jaded political junkies I have ever come across. No politician can say anything without it being a “lie” or “political posturing” or some devious plan. This is exatly what is killing our republic. At some point we have to come together as Americans and stop the “politics of personl destruction.”

  • Bugler

    Bonner’s a scumbag. His district deserves better.

  • Del

    Anonymous: 1) The RSC (Jo Bonner, member) issues a statement calling the escrow account a “shakedown.” 2) Barton reads aloud his statement calling the escrow account a “shakedown.” 3) After tumultuous public reaction, Barton apologizes for his apology. 4) Bonner, whose district abuts the Gulf, calls for Barton to resign his committee chairmanship.

    And we’re “jaded”?

  • Carolyn

    I’d rather hear Bonner calling Obama and company out on their policies and statements. Where is the outrage at them raping our entire country?

  • Mr. Conservative

    Carolyn, me and you normally agree but here that might be just a little daylight between our “takes.” We are outraged. BP screwed up. But, I want the outrage to come from the citizens and the market, not the government. I don’t trust the government’s motives and it (via MMS) probably played a role in causing the spill and in delaying a competent response. That doesn’t get BP off the hook but it certainly should prevent government from climbing on its “high horse.”

    The blame-game is the LAST thing we need to be playing now. All our efforts need to be directed toward stopping the leak and executing the clean-up. There will be plenty of time for assessing liability later. Metaphor alert: It makes no sense to call the ambulance-chasing lawyers in for interviews while the car accident victim is still in ER fighting for his/her life. My two cents.

  • orogeny

    Let me get this straight…those of you defending Barton and poor, helpless BP, think that America and the folks on the Gulf coast will be better off if they have to sue BP for every penny they lose (just like the Alaskans had to do after Exxon-Valdez) and wait 10-20 years for the court cases and appeals to be settled before they get reimbursed? You think that it is a “shakedown” for Obama to tell BP “Either you do what’s right and set up a fund to reimburse these folks, or the US government will come after you with everything we’ve got”?

  • Political Junkie

    No, orogeny, it’s just that some of us still believe that this is a nation of laws, not of shakedowns. We have laws and processes and they are good enough for the country to work and function for more than 200 years. Obama doesn’t need to by-pass them so that he and his buddies can score political points for being tough.

  • Carolyn

    Totally agree with you Mr. Conservative. I actually meant calling Obama out on his policies not necessarily related to the oil spill (stomping on the Constitution every chance he gets).

    BUT – I also agree with Political Junkie – government cannot through due process out of the window when they feel like it. Bypassing laws to force companies to do what the government wants is fascism. Plain and simple.

  • orogeny

    Care to explain to me which laws have been bypassed? BP has a long history of living on the edge of the law, dancing from violation to violation without ever getting busted. All Obama did was offer them the chance to do the right thing and in doing so, create a bit of goodwill that may play in their favor once the dist settles and the DoJ starts looking seriously at BP’s actions. I read crap like this and it disgusts me. You and your ilk are ready to toss the lives of the people of the Gulf Coast into the trash in order to forward your anti-Obama agenda. It is not worth arguing with you because you see everything in one light…”How can this be used to discredit Obama?” Not “What is best for America or what is the best way to alleviate the economic hardships that BP’s irresponsibility will cause?” Simply FTW, all the matters is sticking it to BHO. If this were a Republican administration and they had just pulled off the same deal, you’d be dancing in the streets.

  • Political Junkie

    Ad hominem already? You don’t know me. I could run through an entire litany of laws, not to mention sections of the US Constitution that Obama violated. Here are some specific examples:

    1) There is a Federal cap on non-direct damages that was passed after the Valdez incident. This slushfund goes well-beyond the legal maximum in damages. I’m sure that the cap will be litigated and it may turn out that the law is struck down, but as it stands now, the law clearly states that BP does not have to pay nearly as much (I believe it’s non-direct damage cap is $75MM but don’t hold me to the specific figure.)

    2) In case you haven’t read it, I suggest that you take a look at the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution which states that “no person shall be deprived of the right to … property without due process of law.” BP was clearly coerced into this through extortionist pressure. The fact that they acquiesced likely renders the Due Process Claim moot but it does not make what Obama did right.

    Orogeny and “your ilk” are misconstruing to the point of dishonesty what I and others are saying. No one is saying that BP should not be held liable to the fullest extent of the law. However, “[w]e have laws and processes and they are good enough for the country to work and function for more than 200 years. Obama doesn’t need to by-pass them so that he and his buddies can score political points for being tough.”

  • orogeny

    Go for it! Let’s hear the litany of laws that you can FACTUALLY show have been violated. C’mon, give me the benefit of your inside knowledge…obviously you were in the meeting and know exactly what was said.

    So, by your logic, BP’s total non-cleanup liability should be $75 million dollars, right? That is what the law says and changes to it cannot be applied in an ex post facto manner. Of course, it might be possible to prove that BP was intentionally negligent, which could allow the cap to be removed. That shouldn’t take more than 15-20 years to work it’s way through the courts. You do know that the people who lost everything because of the Exxon-Valdez fiasco are JUST NOW beginning to see payments, 20 years later?

    Guess you are psychic, right. Tell me exactly what the “extortionist pressure” was that was applied to BP. Is it extortion when a prosecutor tells a thief that the government might be a bit more lenient if said thief reimburses those that he ripped off before the case goes to trial? You are so ready to jump on anything that you can use to discredit this administration that you create your own facts out of thin air to support your attacks.

    You are not saying that BP shouldn’t be held responsible, you’re simply saying that any actions that the administration takes to force BP to expedite payment to alleviate the suffering of the people whose lives are being destroyed by their irresponsible actions is wrong…a shakedown…unconstitutional…or any other word that you think will make people think your are taking a principled stand rather than simply acting s a partisan hack.

  • Political Junkie

    You know nothing about my politics. Some of us believe that the rule of law is more important than politics.

    You cannot be intentionally negligent. That’s a legal impossibility. You’re either willful, reckless or negligent. But that’s neither here nor there. The underlying point of your statement, that the cap may not stick is true, and it’s one that I acknowledged in my post. (“I’m sure that the cap will be litigated and it may turn out that the law is struck down…”) However, you’re still missing the point.

    I don’t have to be in the room. The President of the United States said on national television that “tomorrow I will tell the chairmen of BP that they will set aside” a fund blah blah blah. He dictated, extrajudicially and extralegally, what a company would do with no authority other than a bully pulpit.

    Please consider reading my comments before responding. I never said that Obama VIOLATED laws, only that what he was doing is unethical and forces BP to do things not legally required. The fact that it goes beyond what is legally required is undisputed.

    If you do not like our justice system, take it up with Congress. You still have not addressed my fundamental criticque. I’ll repeat it one more time:

    We have laws and processes and they are good enough for the country to work and function for more than 200 years. Obama doesn’t need to by-pass them so that he and his buddies can score political points for being tough.

    If you don’t like the law or the process, get it changed. I am fine with that. What I am not fine with is this president, or any other president, or any other government official thinking (and apparently correctly so) that they can dictate the law to a company or person on an ad hoc basis.

    Try to think about it this way: What if President Bush during his time in office had told MoveOn or George Soros that they had to put aside a huge sum of money to pay victims of an accident that was likely negligent but still not proven? You would be the “partisan hack” then. I’ll allow you the last word, because I’m not responding again.

  • orogeny

    Your politics are obvious.

    I was referring to willful negligence, defined as intentional performance of an unreasonable act in disregard of a known risk. Not being an attorney, I assumed that under that definition, willful and intentional were interchangeable. Sorry for the error.

    Do you even READ what you write, or is it simply a form of politically motivated logoreah?

    “I never said that Obama VIOLATED laws, only that what he was doing is unethical and forces BP to do things not legally required.”

    “I could run through an entire litany of laws, not to mention sections of the US Constitution that Obama VIOLATED.”

    I’m not particularly a fan (nor a critic) of either one, but if MoveOn or George Soros engaged in a act of willful negligence that destroyed the Gulf of Mexico and wiped out the livelihood of the coastal population of (at least) three states, I would have absolutely no problem with the federal government doing whatever it could, within the law, to get sufficient money out of them to compensate those injured for their losses. By your own admission, Obama did nothing that was illegal, so I'm on board with playing a little hardball to convince BP to behave in a civilized manner.

    But, you continue to stand on whatever misguided principle you are claiming, wile people along the coast simply fight to survive.

  • Political Junkie

    You’re right. Careless word choice on my part (and in the same post I was chiding you for yours – double foul).

    I did NOT mean that Obama violated the law in the sense that he would be criminally liable (which is by far the more common use of the word and you’re right to call me out on that – mea culpa). I meant he violated them in the sense that he undercut the whole reason for having those laws. (Think TI in Live Your Life: “they violate in a major way”.) They’re violated in the same sense of the word as Congressman Bonner described the beaches being “raped and violated.”

    Even if you’re willing to throw Soros under the bus, if the law doesn’t protect huge powerful corporations with all the resources in the world to enforce it, how the heck do you think it will protect you?

  • Political Junkie

    And I’m a terrible person because I said I wasn’t responding. Sorry.

  • orogeny

    The law must protect huge corporations from what…hard words? You don’t even know what Obama said to Mr. Hayward. When you can demonstrate that the administration actually did something illegal, then we have something to talk about. Until then, your argument is nothing but smear and innuendo.

  • Political Junkie

    What’s this? A federal judge rules today that Obama VIOLATED (in all senses of the word) the law in the wake of the oil spill?
    Gee wilikers Bat Man, seems like someone was trying to suggest due process violations around here lately…
    So Orogeny, I expect a concession since now I “can demonstrate that the administration actually did something illegal.” Or is a federal court ruling not good enough proof?
    Boom roasted.
    P.S. Violating a law doesn’t mean that you go to jail or face criminal or civil penalties. In this case, violating the law means that the action you took is invalid.

  • orogeny

    Wait just one Bat-second, Joker, surely you can do better than this. I’d say you were grasping at straws, but this doesn’t even rise to that level.

    1) The judge simply granted a preliminary injunction halting the moratorium on deep-water drilling until the agency responsible for the moratorium “cogently explains why it has exercised its discretion.” This is simply a case of a particular judge offering his interpretation of how a particular regulation can be implemented and hardly constitutes any violation of law.

    2) This case has absolutely nothing to do with the topic we’ve been discussing, the $20 billion escrow account. If you find out tomorrow that Obama got a speeding ticket on the way to the coast, that would be equally relevant to your case.

    I’m curious, where did you get your definition for “violating the law?” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • orogeny

    An interesting factoid about the Judge who granted the injunction that you cited:

    The federal judge who overturned Barack Obama’s offshore drilling moratorium appears to own stock in numerous companies involved in the offshore oil industry — including Transocean, which leased the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig to BP prior to its April 20 explosion in the Gulf of Mexico — according to 2008 financial disclosure reports. [...]

    According to Feldman’s 2008 financial disclosure form, posted online by Judicial Watch, the judge owned stock in Transocean, as well as five other companies that are either directly or indirectly involved in the offshore drilling business.

    It’s not surprising that Feldman, who is a judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana, has invested in the offshore drilling business — an AP investigation found earlier this month that more than half the federal judges in the districts affected by the BP spill have financial ties to the oil and gas industry.

    Think maybe he should have recused himself from the case?

  • Carolyn

    Gosh, maybe Obama should recuse himself from leadership of the situation since he is the #1 recipient of BP PAC money in the past 20 years and his under-secretary for the Interior used to be BPs scientist.

  • orogeny

    From Politico:

    BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees — $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals.

    During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records..

    So, BP employees gave Obama almost $72,000 over the last 8 years or so. Obama raised ~$750,000,000 in his presidential campaign. That means that less than .001% of that came from BP. Do you honestly believe that this has had any significant effect on his decision making process during the Gulf crisis? Or, is this just a statistical blip that you see as a cheap and easy way to attack the administration?

    Y’all need to get your talking points together , you keep stepping on your own attacks. Is Obama being too tough on BP? Is he “shaking them down?” Or is he a paid-for minion of BP? The only place you can have it both ways is in the fantasy world that most of you Obama haters live in.

  • orogeny

    Excuse the typo, that should have read “gave Obama almost $78,000.”

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