Braley asks Hayward about the “slush fund”

Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo, Iowa) is a member of the House Energy Committee which at this hour is hosting a hearing featuring British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward.  Earlier this morning, during opening statements, Braley spoke about the “oil disaster.”  This afternoon, Braley just got done having a discussion with Hayward about a Texas congressman’s apology to Hayward, delivered at the start of the hearing.  The congressman, who represents the Houston area, said BP had been the target of a White House “shakedown” — a reference to the $20 billion BP has set aside to compensate victims of the oil spill in the Gulf.

Read the exchange between Braley and Hayward below:

“Do you think that BP was shaken down by the Obama administration to come up with this $20 billion compensation fund?” Braley asked Hayward.

Hayward responded: “We attended the White House at the invitation of the government to form a way forward and try and work together to deal with the leak, the response to the leak, and to make — to return the Gulf Coast to its past and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Braley:  “And I realize that we speak the same language, but it’s not always the same language when we speak English in the United States and English in Great Britian so I want to be sure I’m clear on this.  Here in this country, the word ‘shaken-down’ means somebody in a position of disadvantage is forced to do something against their will.  Is that how you viewed these negotiations at the White House yesterday?”

Hayward:  “As I said, we came together to figure out a way of working together to resolve what is clearly a very, very serious situation.”

Braley:  “And the reason you came together, sir, is because it was not only in the best interests of the United States taxpayers and the citizens of this country, it’s also in the best interest of BP to try to get this problem solved so that it can move forward. Isn’t that true?”

Hayward:  “It is undoubtedly true that we would like to resolve the issue as would everyone else here and, more broadly, in this country.”

Braley:  “When the ranking member referred to this compensation fund — which I applaud as a positive step forward — as a slush fund, I want you to know that in this country that implies a very negative connotation as something illegal, below the surface of what’s acceptable.  Did you consider this compensation fund…to be a slush fund?”

Hayward:  “As we said yesterday, the fund is a signal of our commitment to do right, to ensure that individuals, fishermen, charter boat captains, small hotel owners — every one who’s been impacted by this is kept whole.  That is what I have said from the very beginning of this and that is what we intend to do and, as I said in my testimony, I hope people will now see that we are good for our word.”

Braley:  “And can we take that as a, ‘No,’ in response to my question, sir, that you did not consider this to be a slush fund?”

Hayward: “I certainly didn’t think it was a slush fund, congressman.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Margaret Thompson says

    I firmly believe that BP should pay for damages and loss of income. However, I have grave concerns that our so-called president violated our Constitution and did not follow it in order to obtain funding from BP. Every time I hear the news, it seems that he or someone in his administration or in our Congress or in our courts are totally disregarding the Constitution. I keep waiting for the majority of Americans to rise in mass against them and say enough is enough! It is no longer a mere question of political parties or conservative vs. liberal; it is now a question of whether or not America remains a republic or goes into a stage of oligarchy, as did Rome, followed by rule of tyrants. Beware, America, of anyone who speaks of a new world order. I don’t WANT it!


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