The party of Obama and Pelosi is out there just pounding away at the Big Oil companies over the high price of gas at the pump. Greedy, they say. Heartless, they claim. Mean, cold and uncaringly rich they insist.
Yet in the v-e-r-r-r-r-y quiet precincts that represent the intersection between a key constituency of Democrats -- public employee unions -- and the pension funds that provide for said employees when they retire, guess what? Big Oil.
Let's take a look.
WISCONSIN: The Governor of Wisconsin is a gentleman by the name of Jim Doyle. He is a Democrat. snip The Doyle solution, naturally, is right out of the Obama playbook: a Wisconsin oil surcharge. Doyle's critics say the oil companies will simply pass the costs on to Wisconsin consumers.
So far, so good. This is what Democrats do, right? snip Reporter Brian Clark, in a much nationally uncovered story from May of 2007, tells us the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) had earned "nearly $400 million over the past four years." How was that? Reports Clark:
According to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, cash earnings from the portfolios of five major oil companies managed by SWIB staff and external managers totaled nearly $207 million from January 2003 to March 2007. Those firms are BP Amoco, Chevron Texaco, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell.
During the same period, the value of the state pension fund rose from $51 billion to $85 billion, SWIB officials said.
In the last two years, oil company portfolios controlled by external managers saw cash gains of nearly $50 million. Those stocks were invested in Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and BP. (Figures from 2003 to 2005 were not available.)
And as of April 2, SWIB's accounting records also show unrealized gains (which have not been cashed out) of more than $134 million in both internally and externally managed oil company portfolios. In addition, SWIB has numerous commingled funds, some of which have investments in oil companies. (Some of those holdings go back even further than 2003, officials said.)
Well. Let's follow the money, shall we?
The SWIB includes, by Wisconsin law, a representative of "the Teachers Retirement Board." Teachers. Teachers who are in turn represented by a union, specifically in this case the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC). snip, WEAC is "among the largest contributors in Wisconsin politics" spending almost $1.5 million in the 2002 political cycle. It is, amazingly enough, a supporter of Governor Doyle.
So in other words, the Wisconsin teachers union is seeing to it that their members' pension money is invested in Big Oil. Guaranteeing paychecks for union members will be secured long beyond their active teaching days -- thanks to Big Oil. The members in turn contribute to WEAC's political action committee, which in turn contributes to, in this case, Governor Doyle.
"We have met the enemy, and he is us."