Kerry among lawmakers with financial ties to BP

Shares held in trust; others’ links more direct

By Alan Bjerga and Kristin Jensen
Bloomberg News / June 17, 2010

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WASHINGTON — Lawmakers including Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry have financial ties to BP PLC, the British company struggling to contain the biggest oil spill in US history, according to disclosure forms.

Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, reported owning between $350,000 and $750,000 worth of BP’s American shares depositary receipts in a trust, a report released by Congress said. She earned between $20,000 and $66,000 from the holding, according to the report from Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat working on climate change legislation.

Kerry himself holds between $1,000 and $15,000 in BP stock. His spokeswoman, Whitney Smith, said the holdings have no effect on his role as an “environmental champion’’ in the Senate.

“Inherited holdings in family trusts he has no control over whatsoever clearly have no impact on his fight for a green economy and a clean environment,’’ she said. “By that standard, he’s cast scores of votes against his own economic interests.’’

Other lawmakers have more direct ties to BP. Oklahoma Representative Frank Lucas, the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, received between $5,000 and $15,000 in royalties from BP America Production Co. for oil and gas extraction on 103 acres he owns in Oklahoma, according to the report. At least seven other lawmakers reported holdings in the multinational oil company, based in London.

BP is facing criticism from Washington that it isn’t doing enough to cope with the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. On Tuesday, President Obama vowed to make BP pay for all the damage caused by its “recklessness,’’ and BP said yesterday it would provide $20 billion to pay “all proper claims.’’

Lucas said royalty payments are common among Oklahoma landowners and don’t come with any political influence. The rights for BP were among six companies, including Apache Corp. and Exco Resources Inc., with mineral claims on the land, according to records.

His spokeswoman, Leslie Shedd, said Lucas has no plans to sell the mineral rights.

Representative James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican, held $100,000 to $250,000 in BP stock, earning between $5,000 and $15,000 in dividend payments. Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican, and Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, each held $15,000 to $50,000 of shares, earning between $200 and $1,000 in dividend payments.

In December, House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio sold a retirement plan in the company he once ran, taking in between $1,000,001 and $5 million. The next day he purchased dozens of blue chip stocks, including BP and other oil companies each valued between $15,001 and $50,000. He reported no income from the holding and acquired the shares on a financial adviser’s recommendation, spokesman Michael Steel said.

Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl held 240 shares of BP that his brokerage statement said were worth $2,280 as of Dec. 31. Ryan Patmintra, a spokesman for the Arizona senator, said he sold the shares in January.

Representative Mike Castle, a Delaware Republican running for Senate, held $1,000 to $15,000 in shares in a trust, and sold at least part of his holding during the year. Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, reported holding $1,000 to $15,000 in BP ADRs, earning $200 to $1,000 in dividend payments.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.