BP Associations Could Cost GOP in Great Lakes States

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Wisconsin U.S. Senate Candidate, Ron Johnson

Madison, Wisconsin—This writer has taken Sen. Russ Feingold to task in the past, but now it appears that Feingold’s likely general election opponent, U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson, wants to be the head cheerleader for Big Oil.

That’s bad.

If this were not bad enough, Johnson wants to open the Great Lakes to Big Oil, a position he denied yesterday after Feingold announced his new commercial hitting Johnson on Big Oil, which Johnson says is just a “wedge issue.”

ThinkPorgress reports, “Last month, when asked if he would support drilling for oil in the Great Lakes, Johnson — who owns more than $100,000 in BP stock — replied, ‘I think we have to, get the oil where it is.'”

If you don’t live in a Great Lakes state, I’ll spell it out: This is a crazy idea, especially from a guy who has more money invested in Big Oil than what most people make in 10 years.

One hopes all political candidates in any of the Great Lakes states are held to account for their positions on Big Oil exploiting a tremendous natural resource.

Yesterday, Johnson released a statement saying he now opposes Great Lakes drilling: “I would not support any efforts to overturn the provision which outlaws drilling in the Great Lakes as Wisconsin’s next U.S. Senator.  Let me repeat: I would reject any and all efforts to drill in the Great Lakes.”

But the Wisconsin Democratic Party is keeping the heat on the guy with over $400,000 invested in Big Oil:

U.S. Senate Candidate Ron Johnson delayed the release of personal investments in the oil industry for a month while he defended Big Oil and British Petroleum after the worst oil spill in American history.

Johnson’s personal financial stake in Big Oil includes up to $315,000 in BP stock. Johnson also has as much as $100,000 in Exxon stock and $50,000 in Occidental Petroleum stock, as well as, various funds that contain additional BP and Big Oil investments.

Yet Johnson kept his Big Oil investments a secret while he repeatedly defended Big Oil and BP after the Gulf oil spill, telling national right-wing talk radio host Ed Morrissey: “This is not the time to be beating up on those guys, quite honestly.” [In the interview with Morrissey, Johnson responds to questions on government regulations of off-shore and on-shore oil drilling, asked his “gut-level reaction” to the BP disaster, Johnson says at the 46-minute mark: “This is not the time to be beating up on those guys, quite honestly.” ]

Johnson also announced his support for drilling in national wildlife areas and his opposition to more caution before undertaking new oil-drilling projects in the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf.

Feingold is hitting Johnson hard on the issue now, and good for him and us:

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