Gulf judge\’s conflict of interest.

They\’re all over this one like a rash.

The judge who overturned deepwater drilling bans allowing BP to resume oil extraction in the Gulf of Mexico, had shares in Transocean and other firms in the industry, it was revealed today.

Yesterday, a Louisiana-based judge Martin Feldman ruled that Barack Obama\’s six-month drilling moratorium in the Gulf was unjustified because it assumed that all deepwater drilling was as dangerous as BP\’s.

The White House promised an immediate appeal.

Meanwhile environmental groups have said Feldman\’s ruling may have to be rescinded because of the possible conflict of interests.


So, have a look at his financial disclosure form.

I\’ve not worked right through it but some 10 positions seem to be in oil and or gas companies. Out of 141 different positions that the guy had (including buys and sells in the period).

Looks to me like a fairly well balanced investment portfolio actually: the guy\’s getting on a bit and it\’s heavy in bonds. Just about all of the positions are under $15k (you get a code not an actual amount).

For someone who lives and works in an oil and gas producing area I certainly don\’t see that he\’s suspiciouly heavy on stocks in the sector.

This call is a bit like insisting that a UK judge not hear a mortgage reposession case because he\’s got £5k\’s worth of Barclay\’s shares in an ISA.

I agree, if it turned out that he had millions in Transocean stock, or if a large and significant portion of his net worth was in oil and gas explorers, there might be a case.

But this looks very much like the greenies trying it on. In a large and complex economy anyone with (properly and rightly so) a widely diversified investment portfolio will get caught by having some connection or other to most things.

The test is, in these things, a \”significant\” holding, isn\’t it? Significant meaning \”large enough to change his mind\”? Large enough meaning either large or a large enough piece of the total?

8 thoughts on “Gulf judge\’s conflict of interest.”

  1. Brian, follower of Deornoth

    Don’t forget: greenies are right, and anyone who disagrees with them must be in the pay of corrupt interests.

  2. The watermelons (green outside, red inside) when their political contributions affect legislation.

    Just because you own an asset doesn’t disqualify you from judging an issue related to that asset. Otherwise, how could any judge rule on anything housing related (unless he/she was homeless).

  3. O/T Tim but just watching C4 news about housing benefit. Genuinely astonishing. They present as a victim a lone mother of 5 (presumably the children of aliens) who is currently receiving £30,000+ pa in housing bennies and will see this fall to £20,800 pa (we’re supposed to worry about this).
    Telly literally as big as her dining table which quote ‘is (now) a questionable extravagance’.
    To get 30k pa after tax you would need to earn c 50k and that’s without money for food or clothes or widescreen tvs. Utterly fucking mad.

  4. @dan, I saw it too and was slack-jawed. To be fair to C4 their camera lingered on said enormous TV for some time… I think they were actually giving her rope to hang herself.

    Over on LiberalConspiracy, someone has suggested that the new ceiling means “Ensure that people on low incomes are evicted from more affluent areas and herded into ghettos”. So a nice flat in Islington is a human right now?

  5. Yes – potentially receiving £20,800 pa free of tax towards your rent costs means being herded into ghettoes.
    The woman from the housing ‘charity’ looked very shifty.

  6. Holy Cr**! £20,800 pa would pay rent for two three-bedroomed terraced houses down this way. Maybe even rent something nice and sprawling in the swisher neighbourhoods round here.

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