Jan 29th, 2012
We picked up on a report last week of Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) substantial investments in companies with a direct stake in the controversial Keystone XL proposal. At the time, I suggested this might be a career-ender and wondered if an internal ethics investigation was imminent (again, paging Rep. Issa (R-CA)whose silence is deafening).
It now seems that the situation is rapidly becoming more serious. Yesterday, PoliticsUSA followed up on the latest developments:
"On Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) received a complaint from an environmental group with accusations that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline’s owners (TransCanada) are in violation of SEC Rule 10b(5) – Employment of Manipulative and Deceptive Practices to bolster stock prices.
The complaint sent to the SEC said TransCanada is using “false or misleading statements about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline” and that they “consistently used public statements and information it knows are false in a concerted effort to secure permitting approval of Keystone XL from the U.S. government.” The complaint continues that the fallacious information misleads investors, U.S. and Canadian officials, the media, and the public “in order to bolster its balance sheets and share price,” and who is the point-man pushing the Keystone XL pipeline with lies and misinformation? Speaker of the House John Boehner." EMPHASES THEIRS
This is big. This is not the typically 'legal but questionable' gaming of the system we have grown accustomed to. It is beginning to look like a blatant violation of the law.
"The complaint specifically highlights that TransCanada asserts that the pipeline will create American jobs “at a rate that is 67 times higher than job creation totals given by the company to Canadian officials for the Canadian portion of the pipeline.” The inflated job creation numbers were designed to pressure President Obama to issue an approval permit to build the pipeline and without its construction, TransCanada’s future earnings and share prices will be significantly impacted. Speaker Boehner owns shares in seven different Canadian tar sand companies and it is highly likely that he knows the job numbers are inflated as an investor and stands to profit if the pipeline is built. Boehner went so far as threatening to tie 160 million working Americans’ payroll tax cut extension to approval of the pipeline. Boehner’s extortion threats were the last straw, and inspired a national petition to force him to resign or face expulsion from Congress for ethics violations. However, ethics violations are the least of Boehner’s problems once the SEC finishes their investigation which they confirmed is actively under consideration." EMPHASIS THEIRS
Let's be clear; This isn't about TransCanada affiliated interests investing in Boehner via SuperPACs and campaign donations. This is about Boehner investing in TransCanada affiliated interests while using false statistics to push for government action on their behalf.
It is already past time for the Speaker to publicly address this.
The last thing I want to see is an Eric Cantor Speakership.
But, this man must resign.