Republican candidate for US Senate Ron Johnson is putting his own personal financial interests above the needs of Wisconsin. That’s according to Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate.
The Oshkosh businessman released his investment portfolio Friday, and it includes shares of BP and two other oil companies totaling anywhere between $181,000 to $466,000. “And this is a fact he failed to mention and tried to hide from voters for the last month and a half, all the while shilling for Big Oil interests,” Tate says.
Johnson’s holdings are being questioned, in part, because he had recently criticized President Barack Obama’s stance toward BP — pressuring the company to set up a victims claims fund. Meanwhile Johnson says BP should be held accountable for its actions; he objects to the Administration’s method.
Also, Johnson points out that incumbent Russ Feingold — and Democrats statewide — benefit from BP stock as a part of the Wisconsin Retirement Fund. Tate responds, “We’re not talking about a mutual fund when it comes to Ron Johnson; these are direct personal investments in oil companies.”
Tate isn’t satisfied with the argument that Johnson’s stocks are diverse; that he’s not beholden to oil companies. Tate says selling the stock would not rectify the problem. “I don’t think it does, because this is something he makes money from. He makes money from BP. Regardless of what he does going forward, it’s obviously just going to be to try to make up for the fact that he hid from voters that he owns substantial interest in this company and he has been publicly defending this company.”
Republican Party of Wisconsin Executive Director Mark Jefferson notes, President Obama has received $77,000 in campaign contributions from BP. He says the Democrats are clearly grasping for straws. Johnson hopes to unseat U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, a Democrat seeking his fourth term. First, though, he’ll have to win the primary in September against Watertown businessman Dave Westlake.
NOTE: Johnson has shares of three oil companies: Between $116,000 and $315,000 in BP PLC stock, $50,000 to $101,000 in Exxon Mobil Corp. and $15,000 to $50,000 in Occidental Petroleum Corp.