BP: Tax Breaks for Serial Felons


BP, serial criminal and multiply convicted felon, pled guilty last week to felonies arising out of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico disaster. It agreed to pay a $1.25 billion fine and criminal compensatory damages amounting to another $4 billion. If you have a strong stomach, you can read the plea deal and BP’s admissions here.

Of course, this is hardly BP’s first criminal offense. In fact, the company has a rap sheet that would be the envy of any inner-city gang-banger. Here are just a few of the recent blots on BP’s royal escutcheon:

  • March 2005 – BP pled guilty to a felony in connection with an explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery, which claimed the lives of 15 employees and injured 170 others.
  • August 2006 – BP pled guilty to a criminal misdemeanor for two oil spills here in Alaska due to a severely corroded pipelines on which BP failed to perform maintenance.
  • August 2006 – BP entered a deferred prosecution agreement related to price fixing scheme involving propane trading.
  • According to the Center for Public Integrity, for the period 2007-2010, BP refineries in Ohio and Texas have accounted for 97 percent of the “egregious, willful” violations handed out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Now if you think these are somehow just aberrations in the conduct of an otherwise reasonable corporation, consider this report form the New York Times:

Before the accident in Texas City, BP had declined to spend $150,000 to fix a part of the system that allowed gasoline to spew into the air and blow up. Documents show that the company had calculated the cost of a human life to be $10 million. Shortly before that disaster, a senior plant manager warned BP’s London headquarters that the plant was unsafe and a disaster was imminent. A report from early 2005 predicted that BP’s refinery would kill someone “within the next 12 to 18 months” unless the company changed its practices.

The arithmetic of corporate profits dictated BP’s risk calculus. Not the regard for safety. Not a decent respect for human live. Not the danger of conviction for homicide. It’s no different than burglars betting they won’t get caught. Except burglars rarely kill dozens of people.

This is just a small part of BP’s long history of criminal convictions. If you doubt WC’s word, see the Corporate Research Report’s article from January 19, 2013 for still more.

Sure, after each criminal conviction BP has pledged to reform, to institute a “new culture,” to make safety “job one.” But BP’s credibility at this point is effectively zero.

So can someone explain, please, why Captain Zero and the Alaska Legislature feel so compelled to give this thuggish multi-national a gigantic tax break?

What’s next? Double Permanent Fund dividends for serial rapists? Worker’s compensation coverage for burglars? Bonus checks for embezzlers?

Why are we rewarding felons?

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2 thoughts on “BP: Tax Breaks for Serial Felons

  1. Many companies have decided that profit (share price) is what matters most. Penalties, fines and settlements are an unfortunate but accepted cost to maximize shareholder value. Perhaps there is a way to apply, “corporations are people” to pierce the corporate veil. Punish a board of directors and CxO staff as a single entity. I’m certain that risking personal wealth and freedom would alter the actions of the corporate person.

  2. To note some of the most glaring examples, whether it’s BP, Mercer or the Koch brothers, our state has no provision to prohibit politicians and their appointees from entering into new contracts with criminals and grifters. In each case noted above, criminal acts have only led to even more and greater access to commit the same kinds of crimes and larger more extensive cons and rip offs.

    Why? Far too many of our politicians are only too happy to be paid off from the skimmings. They’ve consciously decided to partner up with the felonious hucksters. If they were to craft legislation prohibiting getting into bed with criminals, they’d be looking somewhere else some other schmuck to pay them for their indulgence.

    Several of our contemporary politicians are determined in their attempt lately to legalize and legitimize what is nothing more than an elementary fraudulent scheme which will scam the State of Alaska out of several billions of dollars, no strings attached.

    What are most of our ‘residents’ saying? Not a peep. They’ve abdicated their responsibilities. They don’t know what it means to be citizens. They don’t know what it means to participate in, or preserve, a free and democratic state. They are, like as not, living in some deluded state of semi-conscious torpor.

    They’re easy marks for the underhanded politicians and the scam artists. Future generations will look back and wonder how so many people could have been so destructively self-absorbed, inconsiderate and imbecilic.

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