Rep. F. Jim Sensenbrenner, who always puts himself first, has outdone himself on the BP disaster in the Gulf.
WASHINGTON — A multimillionaire House Republican who owns thousands of shares of BP stock has no plans to recuse himself from a congressional investigation related to the Gulf oil spill or from votes on Capitol Hill that could affect his investments in the oil company.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin has avoided directly criticizing BP for the spill itself. At the same time, he has watched his BP stock tank in value.
Worth more than $251,000 just a few years ago, Sensenbrenner’s 3,604 shares of BP PLC stock had plunged in value to just $118,000 by the end of trading Thursday. That’s roughly half their value the day before the April 20 oil spill. Sensenbrenner has said his net worth is about $10 million.
The No. 2 Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and a former chairman, Sensenbrenner has kept a low profile on the issue, but now he’s coming out swinging: He has written a letter to President Barack Obama questioning BP’s actions and the adequacy of the White House response — but refrains from directly criticizing BP for the spill.
Sensenbrenner, you may recall, is one of the few members of Congress who voted against relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Heartless is the word to describe him.
Sensenbrenner's complaints about Obama hurting his stock value provided some fodder for the Cheddarsphhere:
Illusory Tenant: Sensenbrenner angry he didn't sell BP in April.
Rock Netroots: BP Stock Plummets -- Congressman Throws Tarballs.
The Political Environment: His BP share in decline, Sensenbrenner rips Obama
Even in this anti-incumbent, anti-Washington year, Sensenbrenner's conservative suburban district is so safe that he is probably not in any danger, no matter how crazy, petulant or selfishly he acts. His biggest threat would be an opponent in the Republican primary, but he doesn't have one.
There is a Democrat running against him, despite the long odds -- Todd Kolosso, a young Menomonee Falls small business owner.
We could not do worse than Sensenbrenner.