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Ron Johnson Has Well Over $100,000 In BP Stock, Is Out Of Touch With Moral Compass

July 9, 2010

Color me shocked when the news was released that the man who thinks he represents the average citizens of Wisconsin actually has more than $100,000 in BP stock.  Dirty stock.  In fact, he may have as much as $315,000 in BP stock.  It is now clear that Ron Johnson, the Wisconsin Republican senate hopeful, is just another fat-cat corporate conservative who will line his pockets with any business deal if it reaps him a financial reward. 

The BP oil disaster is only a  few months old, but the many other disasters and dirty business dealings by BP  has been going on for many, many years.  Ron Johnson seems utterly content to have dirty stocks that make him money. 

For Johnson to have allowed his financial portfolio to contain BP stock is utterly confusing.  Either Johnson is totally disconnected with the track record of BP, or he just has no moral compass to guide him.  Either way it is a dreadful indictment on the man who thinks he has what it takes to be a leader in Washington. 

Should I assume that Ron Johnson finds it morally acceptable to  hold stock from a company that offered to plead guilty to a federal environmental crime with a $50 million fine attached to it, as in the Texas City refinery explosion.  That was but only one dreadful example of the way BP does business.  Might we also need to check what stocks Johnson held when apartheid was still the rule in South Africa?

It is now more clear why Ron Johnson criticized President Barack Obama for pushing BP into setting up a $20 billion claims fund to compensate victims of the spill.  We now must ask ourselves if this had less to do with policy than it did with his own stock holdings?  That is just an unacceptable way to conduct a campaign, and raises questions about how ethical Johnson would be as a senator if ever given the chance. 

There is a moral calling when one throws a hat into the ring for political office.   Every, and I mean every, avenue must be crossed with the highest ideals and motives in mind if representing the people is truly the reason for running.  When blasting the Obama White House for putting the needs of the people in the gulf states first, it now appears that Johnson was instead thinking of his own worldly possessions and how they would be impacted by the compensation fund.   That is not what Wisconsinites want when it comes to a candidate.  It certainly is not what we need from a senator.

It should be noted in contrast that Senator Russ Feingold’s financial disclosure form lists just one stock holding, a mutual fund valued at $50,000 to $100,000.

7 Comments
  1. Skip permalink
    July 13, 2010 12:57 PM

    “I think there is huge difference say between a state worker invested in a pension fund, and a multi-millionaire like Johnson who can be more selective in his stock dealings.”

    What’s the difference? In both instances the end result is the same – one is profiting from an irresponsible corporation. So it’s OK to profit from BP as long as you abdicate responsibility by gaining your lucre via a fund? I get it. As long as there’s an intermediary, then the whole moral compass spiel doesn’t apply. I see now.

    And did you check out all the companies Feingold invests in? Are they all clean?

  2. July 13, 2010 12:23 PM

    Two quick points.

    First, I think one needs to be responsible investor. I would never have allowed, for instance, had I been an investor in the days of apartheid, for my portfolio to have included company stock that supported racism of that kind. I think there is huge difference say between a state worker invested in a pension fund, and a multi-millionaire like Johnson who can be more selective in his stock dealings. While there are many instances where coportations run afoul of ethics and the law there is wide agreement that few could top that of BP over the many years it has chased profits in the way it has. For that reason alone having stock in BP, and the amount he owns, calls into question ones moral footing. That may seen strange to you, but that is how I feel.

    Second, there is a also of concern to me the bashing by Johnson of the compensation fund that was worked out by the Obama White House at the time he held sizable holdings in BP. I think his concern was aimed at his own profits and that is troubling to me.

  3. Skip permalink
    July 13, 2010 9:43 AM

    You have piqued my curiosity. So do you find everyone who holds BP stock to be as reprehensible as Johnson? How about other oil companies? Is it OK to invest in companies that, say, are polluting Nigeria?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/30/oil-spills-nigeria-niger-delta-shell

    “It should be noted in contrast that Senator Russ Feingold’s financial disclosure form lists just one stock holding, a mutual fund valued at $50,000 to $100,000.”

    Do you not know what a mutual fund is or are you just being disingenuous here? Feingold’s mutual fund invests in hundreds of stocks. Have you vetted them all for corporate malfeasance?

  4. July 12, 2010 9:43 AM

    Brent,

    If you had read my blog first instead of reaching for keyboard you would have seen why I thought Johnson to have lacked moral reasoning on this matter. It was not that he could not forsee the disaster that is now taking place due to the actions of BP, but “Should I assume that Ron Johnson finds it morally acceptable to hold stock from a company that offered to plead guilty to a federal environmental crime with a $50 million fine attached to it, as in the Texas City refinery explosion. That was but only one dreadful example of the way BP does business.” The history of BP is one big foul smelling company making dreadful blunders that lead to death and enviromental problems. On top of all that is Johnson’s statements about the compensation fund when he should have also stated at that time he has many hundreds of thousands of dollars in BP stock, and also many other oil stocks. Moral reasoning and ethics is not his forte.

    It is important to read the entire post and think about the matter before typing a comment.

  5. brent permalink
    July 12, 2010 2:35 AM

    Just when did he acquire this stock? Clearly before the BP disaster. Along with the 60% of the British population that had BP in their retirement portfolios. Apparently the writer has a gift in purchasing stock that will never turn bad. I’m sure Mr. Johnson is paying the price due to the drop in BP stock. What logic is there in holding the prospective senator responsible for not foretelling the future? The problem with blogs is that they are opinions rarely backed up with any truth. Why does the left hate people with money unless the money is in their own pocket?

  6. Patrick permalink
    July 10, 2010 7:11 PM

    I hope he owns stock in Badger Guns, too if it makes him money. I think it is good when people make money. I’d like to be rich, too.

    It might be more interesting to write a post about the charitable giving of both candidates as a percentge of total earnings.

    The whole problem with your “moral compass” is that it applies to only Republicans so much of the time. I didn’t notice your post on the leader of the New Black Panthers–the same group Holder excused from justice in the voter intimidation case–who recently indicated he wanted to kill cracker babies. Perhaps the Panthers are a part of the Tea Party movement now.

  7. Publius permalink
    July 10, 2010 2:11 AM

    Why does Russ Feingold hate taxpayers?

    Look, I understand that he thinks everyone is entitled to a defined benefit plan like the unions and Members of Congress. But that just isn’t realistic.

    In lieu of said benefit plan, firms like BP, WellPoint, Harley-Davidson, or whatever the bad guy du jour is, are mainstays of any responsible retirement plan.

    Can Russ Feingold say today that he will not take one red cent of Big Oil money in his retirement from whatever his pension holdings are?

    The fact is these firms are saving taxpayers a TON of money because they are indeed staples of pensions holdings for state-sponsored pensions plans for hundreds of thousands of government employees.

    While Feingold may win some short-term political points by beating up Big Oil, his grandstanding on the issue is both likely hypocritical and bad for the long-term holdings of the aforementioned pensioners.

    It’s fair to criticize BP, but he needs to accept responsibility when his grandstanding hurts BP’s shareholders – not just the Ron Johnson type of shareholders, but also the pensioners whose retirement security is strengthened by a healthy company.

    Or would Russ Feingold rather that only elitist Members of Congress reap the benefits of Big Oil?

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