Four Questions for Harold Hamm, Romney's Big Oil Buddy
Tomorrow, Harold Hamm -- the billionaire oil executive currently serving as Mitt Romney's top energy advisor -- will testify before the Senate Finance Committee. Hamm, the 78th richest person in the world according to Forbes, has continually defended the billions in tax subsidies currently doled out to big oil companies while attacking President Obama's energy policy. While serving on the Romney campaign and as CEO of Continental Resources, Hamm has also contributed millions to a pro-Romney Super PAC and to the Koch Brothers anti-Obama smear campaign.
In light of all of these facts, the Sierra Club offers four questions that should be asked of Hamm at the Senate Finance Committee hearing tomorrow:
1) If you still need special tax breaks after your stock nearly tripled in value in three years, when would your billion-dollar company not need taxpayer help?
On January 4, 2009, Continental Resources' stock closed at $24.57. As of June 10, 2012, Continental Resources was priced at $69.41 per share -- almost a threefold increase. The same pattern has played out with most of the nation's other largest oil companies. Yet Hamm and his fellow oil CEOs still argue they need handouts from the federal government to run their billion-dollar companies.
2) Given that you are one of the world's top 100 wealthiest people, do you defend tax subsidies so you have more money to give to Super PACs that will attack the President?
While prices at the pump have risen exponentially, so have the political spending of the nation's largest oil companies and the wealthiest oil CEOs, like Hamm. Hamm personally has raked in more money than all but 77 people on earth, yet continues to defend the billions in tax breaks big oil companies get every year from the federal government. Meanwhile, he's used his taxpayer-assisted wealth to give nearly $2 million to groups attacking the President and supporting Mitt Romney.
3) Are the billions in subsidies you already receive not enough for you to act to prevent toxic oil spills?
Hamm's company and others like it have been responsible for spilling thousands upon thousands of gallons of toxic oil and brine into the groundwater, lakes, rivers, and streams all throughout the country, threatening crops and the health of American families. At the same time, Continental Resources reported a first quarter profit of $69.1 million in 2012 while Hamm's personal wealth has soared.
4) Can you identify which position on the Forbes Billionaires list a wind executive would have to obtain before he or she should be eligible for a tax credit?
Many supporters of Big Oil argue that the companies raking in record profits should continue get handouts from American taxpayers. At the same time, these same voices -- including that of the Presidential campaign on which Hamm serves as top energy adviser -- argue that the burgeoning American clean energy industry should not get tax credits that support tens of thousands of American jobs. Given that Hamm defends oil subsidies and sits as the 78th wealthiest person worldwide, the logic seems to be that as you make more money, you deserve more help from American taxpayers.
--Trey Pollard, Deputy National Press Secretary, Sierra Club
The Sierra Club Voter Education Fund seeks to educate voters about the records of the 2012 GOP presidential candidates by highlighting their extreme positions on public health and other issues of critical importance to the American people and encourage the public to find out more about the candidates and their positions on these issues.