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Texas Legislature Left Out of Loop on $5M from BP to Governor's Office

Deepwater Horizon explosion
Image courtesy SkyTruth http://www.flickr.com/photos/skytruth/
BP gave $5 million to Gov. Rick Perry’s office in September 2010. At a Capitol hearing on May 21, 2014, lawmakers learned of this for the first time.";

Today when a Texas House panel hosted a hearing to get an update on money from BP after the Deep Water Horizon explosion, lawmakers learned about money BP gave to the Governor’s office, without looping the Legislature in. 

Gov. Rick Perry’s office allocated $1 million to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality last year for work related to carrying out the RESTORE Act in Texas, including a Gulf Coast restoration council.

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, asked TCEQ Commissioner Toby Baker where that money came from.

"It was a gift given to the state of Texas by BP to the Governor’s office after the spill," Baker said.

Baker and lawmakers discussed whether it was a gift or a legal agreement between BP and the state. All together, BP gave $5 million to Gov. Perry’s office in September 2010.  The Attorney General’s office, the Texas Comptroller's office and the Governor’s office were all involved in the conversation with BP, but Rep. Martinez Fischer says lawmakers should have been in on it.

"While we're here to talk about the inner workings between what's going to happen in the future between Appropriations and Natural Resources, I’m very troubled knowing that a $5 million transaction occurred in the state of Texas and no one had the common courtesy to let the Texas Legislature know what was going on."

Meanwhile, Congress and the federal government are still determining allocations to the Gulf Coast states to reimburse for expenses caused by the oil spill.

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