ROJO [hearts] BP

By now it is well known that Republican U.S. Senate candidate and Oshkosh businessman Ron Johnson reportedly owns hundreds of thousands of dollars of stock in everyone’s favorite oil company, BP.

According to financial reports filed Friday, Johnson owns stocks worth between $116,000 and $315,000 in BP. Hopefully he’s happy that the stock is now up to $35/share, a slight rebound from the lows it reached just after the fateful (fatal!) explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig and subsequent Gulf oil geyser.

Johnson, of course, is one of two Republican candidates vying for the chance to challenge Democratic U.S. Senator Russ Feingold in the Novermber election.

It may be less widely known that Johnson and his primary challenger Dave Westlake both criticized the federal government’s treatment of BP at a public forum.

It is curious to see now that Johnson owns between a tenth and a third of a million dollars of BP stock. Bad talk about BP is likely to drive the price down, which Johnson would not like.

What I find curious is that Johnson attempted to deflect consideration of these facts with an attempted slap at Senator Feingold. The second paragraph of the Journal Sentinel story on this topic states:

Feingold, the Johnson campaign noted, is a member of the Wisconsin Retirement System, which has invested in BP.

The article does not differentiate between directly owning BP stock, and the presence of BP stock in a widely invested t portfolio. When a company’s stock is one amongst many in a retirement fund, that helps distribute the risk of investment. One stock my fall while others rise, and the loss is not as significant. Ron Johnson’s own people know that: “Anyone who has a mutual fund most likely has an investment in BP,” said ROJO campaign manager Juston Johnson.

This is different from directly owning stock in a company. A stock purchase takes a lot of money. An investment manager may suggest the purchase to his client. But directly buying stock is a deliberate act that needs approval by the purchaser. Johnson made that choice when he bought into BP.

See also: IllyT’s scintillating take.

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

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