Friday, May 16, 2008

Pete Sessions benefits from Exxon record profits

In February, Exxon posted record profits, which is good news to Pete Sessions and family, who own quite a bit of stock in the company:
In the House, Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, owns Exxon stock but is less of a player on energy issues than Ms. Hutchison. Mr. Sessions owns between $15,001 and $50,000 of Exxon stock; his two dependents own shares worth between $100,001 and $250,000, said Emily Davis, Mr. Sessions' spokesman.

"He's strongly advocated for domestic production, regardless of the company," Ms. Davis said.
"Hey, wait a minute," says SessionsWatch, "Hasn't Pete Sessions cast votes against renewable energy, and isn't it a conflict of interest for him to be raking in big bucks from big oil, while voting against renewable energy?"

Apparently not. According to rules of the House and Senate, it's only "conflict of interest" if they vote to give a contract to a specific oil company, and it's not a conflict if they always vote "pro-oil" over other sources of energy.

And, according to the article, there's no law about conflict of interest at all, when it concerns House or Senate votes.
While Congress prescribed a strict conflict-of-interest law for the judiciary, which prompted Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to remove himself from a punitive-damages case involving Exxon Mobil, it didn't apply the same test to lawmakers...

...Ms. Hutchison, R-Texas, also owns between $50,000 and $100,000 of stock in Chevron, which, like Exxon, opposes proposed legislation to impose a "windfall profits" tax on oil companies.

In December, Ms. Hutchison put a "hold" on a bill – a tactic that allows one senator to stop legislation – that would have repealed tax breaks for Exxon, Chevron and three other major oil companies. The measure would have raised $9.4 billion for the U.S. Treasury over 10 years...
Worthwhile read. Kudos to Dave Michaels for bringing this to our attention.

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