Ryan Lees

Amidst all the mistakes, misspeaks and obvious mechanical malfunctions, BP’s next move is to contribute $20 billion to an escrow account to pay out claims in the Gulf region. This sounds like humanitarianism and accountability, but there is something more sinister here. This is corruption. This is government domination of private business and this is political fundraising.

The account will be wholly controlled by the federal government. Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration’s “Pay Czar,” has been placed at the helm of the BP Escrow Fund. Feinberg is an old pro at exerting fed control over some of the largest corporations in the nation: GM, Chrysler, AIG, Bank of America, Citibank and more.

Feinberg stated that BP “has no say in the claims that I declare legitimate and eligible.” BP is handing the Obama administration $20 billion to disburse at will. Obama has appointed yet another czar to handle it, and that czar will hand out billions, under no apparent oversight or legislative appropriation.

The suspect nature of this did not go unnoticed. In congressional hearings last Thursday, Rep. Barton (R-TX) apologized to Tony Hayward for Obama’s “shakedown.” Later, in a typical lack of backbone, the Republican leadership forced Barton to recant and apologize to avoid political upheaval.

Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota warned also, that this might lead to a government takeover of private industry and that BP might become a “permanent ATM” for the federal government. This would be a very keen observation if it were not for the companies already compromised: GM, Chrysler, AIG, Bank of America, and Citibank.

Glenn Beck

Even Jonathan Weisman of the Wall Street Journal stated BP had some victories, though at first seemingly at a loss. Specifically, they avoided liability for the job losses resulting from Obama’s six-month drilling moratorium and environmental restoration beyond pre-spill conditions. Victory? Those are two conditions unrelated to BP’s actions.

The fund is a desperate maneuver by BP. Any corporation would look at Obama’s history regarding corporations in crisis and try to preempt the ‘a**-kicking’ effect.

Considering this, BP has seemingly made a political donation; something for Obama to dole out as Robin Hood; something to take from one and give to another. Nobody knows who will get the money or the standards for a valid claim. We only know that $20 billion is waiting for the administration to give away to those they feel deserve it. Compared to this, the money Obama’s campaign took in from BP is dwarfed. And now Feinberg is asking for $34 billion more.

It is too late to scream: “Do not do this. Do not continue down this road!” BP already promised the money. The bottom-line: the administration will disburse monies (a lot) to voters; no questions so far asked. Fienberg keeps stressing the need to get this money out quicker; perhaps to beat an election cycle? No matter how you look at it, Obama was granted $20 billion to distribute in southern, Republican states at his will: The largest political contribution in U.S. History.

Though too late for BP, there is still a broader hope. Feinberg is encouraging claimants to avoid the civil process and work directly with the BP Escrow Fund. He wants voters to eat out of their hands (sounds familiar), not pursue restitution through the legal process. What can you do? Don’t take their money.

No matter the mistakes or ill-intent of BP (to get them out of trouble by paying off a political machine), the citizens still hold the ultimate power. They must pursue their claims through the courts, guarantee a neutral oversight – a federal judge – and disallow the Obama administration from buying them off with somebody else’s money.

Ryan Lees

Ryan Lees is the Director of Media Outreach and a Program Coordinator at the Patrick Henry Center.