Oil executives testified before the Senate on Wednesday, defending their huge profits and high salaries, while “regular people are scrimping to pay for gasoline to go to work.” Senator Pat Leahy decided he “wanted to make it personal for the men of Big Oil.”
How much money did you make last year? the Vermont Democrat asked the top executives of the country’s five biggest oil companies. They had been summoned to a Senate hearing to explain the extraordinarily high cost of oil and gasoline and their companies’ profits.
Three executives said their compensation was in the millions. Two said they didn’t know.
“I wish I made enough money that I didn’t know how much I make,” replied Leahy with no intention of hiding the sarcasm.
It was a tone that dominated the oil executives’ appearance Wednesday before the Judiciary Committee, a panel that Leahy chairs.
This was the 2nd time this year that “executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., BP America Inc., ConocoPhillips Co. and Shell Oil Co. had been summoned to testify before Congress.”
When they came in early April oil cost about $98 a barrel. On Wednesday, it bounded past $134 a barrel for a time and gasoline cost a national average of $3.80 a gallon.
The executives, whose companies reported $36 billion in profits during the first three months of the year, wanted to talk about tight supplies and growing global demand. They said that while the companies made billions of dollars, they also spent billions to find and produce more oil.
But senators complained the executives were trying to come across as “hapless victims” while raking in record profits. They wanted to press the executives about public anguish over paying $60 or more to fill up a car’s gas tank.
“Where is the corporate conscience?” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked.
“People we represent are hurting, the companies you represent are profiting,” Leahy told the executives. He said there’s a “disconnect” between legitimate supply issues and the oil and gasoline prices motorists are seeing.
Senator Dick Durbin asked the questionof the day:
“Is there anybody here that has any concerns about what you’re doing to this country with the prices that you’re charging and the profits that you’re taking?” Durbin asked.
It’s a moot point clearly… Because these oil execs aren’t losing sleep over the record prices and their huge profits that are driving the average Americans into the poor house.