OIL

07.05.11

Paul Ryan Gets Called Out

Environmental group uses Newsweek and Daily Beast report to blast the congressman’s personal stake in oil subsidies he has sought to protect.

Last month, a Newsweek Daily Beast investigation looked into the personal finances of Rep Paul Ryan, and how the policies in his “Path to Prosperity” budget squared with his personal holdings.

Now, at least one environmental group has seized on the report to accuse Ryan of hypocrisy.

Video screenshot

A new TV ad from the Washington-based nonprofit League of Conservation Voters contrasts Ryan’s public comments about getting rid of tax breaks for oil companies with his efforts in Congress to protect $45 billion in energy subsidies over the next decade. That, and how several oil, gas and mineral companies Ryan and his wife, Janna, co-own in Texas and Oklahoma would benefit from the subsidies. The holdings earned the couple as much as $117,000 in income last year, according to Ryan’s financial disclosure.

“A Newsweek investigation reveals Ryan, his wife and father-in-law made hundreds of thousands from oil companies that lease their land—companies that will profit from the tax breaks that Ryan helped pass,” the announcer ominously booms.

“Paul Ryan, protecting Big Oil profits. Lining his own pockets.”

When reached for a response, Ryan’s office dismissed the ad. “The baseless attacks in this ad are too ridiculous to be taken seriously,” said Kevin Seifert, a spokesman for Ryan.

The spot will air in the Milwaukee media market, which includes Ryan’s district. The congressman is up for reelection for his House seat next year, but he has also flirted with higher aspirations. In early June, when Fox News’ Neil Cavuto asked Ryan whether he’d consider a bid for the White House in 2012, Ryan danced around the question -- "Look, I think I want to see how this field develops” – before saying he wasn’t “really thinking like that.”

Still, at least one online movement has tried to draft him into running.