Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mark Udall's Hypocrisy on "Big Oil" Attacks Made Clear Through Wife's Investments

Today's Denver Post headline misses the point: "Udall's wife invested in renewables". From the story:
Maggie Fox last year purchased between $15,001 and $50,000 worth of PowerShares Exchange Traded Fund Wilderhill Clean Energy, according to a financial disclosure released Monday.

Fox also held between $15,001 and $50,000 worth of Progress Energy Inc., a Fortune 250 energy company pursuing renewable energy technologies. Most of the electricity it produces, however, still comes from oil, gas and coal. [emphasis added]
Dick Wadhams raised the point, but the Post story let it go:
Wadhams said it was "deep hypocrisy" that Udall "attacks Big Oil while the Udall family personally profited from Big Oil stocks."

One watchdog-group spokesman, however, said there isn't a clear conflict.
The primary issue here is not about conflict of interest, but about public hypocrisy.

Both Aspect Energy where Bob Schaffer worked and Progress Energy from which Mark Udall's wife profited both produce most of their energy from traditional fossil fuels. Both companies also invest in developing renewable energy sources (Bob Schaffer himself was active in promoting renewable energy development in his role with CHx Capital, part of Aspect Energy). What's the difference between the two companies, beyond public relations and political consciousness?

How about the relative size of the two companies? Aspect Energy brought in about $360 million in 2007. Progress Energy reported $9 billion-plus in 2007 operating revenues, about 25 times larger. If Aspect Energy is Big Oil, Progress Energy must be Gargantuan Oil.

And Progress Energy, which provides utilities directly to Florida consumers, has recently sought a rate hike on the families and businesses who get electricity from its oil and gas production. Is Mark Udall's wife profiting off Big Oil exploitation of hard-working Americans?

Simply put, No, unless you buy into the populist demagoguery that Mark Udall and his pro-Democrat surrogates have been practicing. But the hypocrisy and duplicity of those complaining about Bob Schaffer's ties to "Big Oil" - and silent on Maggie Fox's ties to a bigger producer of fossil fuels - are now writ large over this campaign.

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