At this morning's hearing with BP CEO Tony Hayward, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) went so far as to apologize to the oil company for what he called a "shake down" on the part of the Obama administration to get the company to establish a $20 billion fund to compensate affected Gulf coast residents.
"I am ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday, that a private corporation would be subject to what I would characterize as a shake down," said Barton. The fund, he said, "amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that is unprecedented in our nation's history" and "sets a terrible precedent for the future."
"I apologize…I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong it is subject to political pressure that amounts to a shake down," Barton continued.
No wonder Barton is one of BP's favorite lawmakers.
Keep in mind, this guy was in charge of the Energy and Commerce Committee before the Democrats won the House majority in 2006. And should Republicans retake that majority, he'll likely be the chairman again. Here's the video:
UPDATE: Now Barton says he's sorry. Sort of.