The importance of transparency in politics

As I’ve probably mentioned before, I intend to keep this blog nonpartisan; however, an incident today just happens to provide a perfect example of something I wanted to discuss.

During Tony Hayward’s testimony before Congress today,  Rep Joe Barton (R-Texas)[1] apologized to the BP CEO, calling the $20 bailout fund set up to pay for BP’s mistake a shakedown[2] and a tragedy.

Now, why would he make a statement like that? Could it possibly have something to do with the fact that his largest campaign contributor is Anadarko Petroleum, which owns 25% of the Deepwater Horizon well and has been asked by BP to pay their share of the damages?

Why does this qualify as good news? On its own, it doesn’t; on the contrary, it’s just another corrupt politician. Where I see something positive lies in the fact that  today’s databases and reporting requirements allow journalists to quickly uncover things like this; a more informed electorate should eventually lead to better, cleaner government.

[1] Rep Barton is the senior republican on the House energy committee; he would become chairman if the republicans were to regain control of the House

[2] His remarks were echoed by Rep Tom Price, R-Georgia

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