Houston, Texas (CNN) -- The judge that BP wants to hear an estimated 200 lawsuits over the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster gets tens of thousands of
dollars a year in oil royalties and is paid travel expenses to industry conferences, financial disclosure forms show.
Lawyers who practice before U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes say he's tough but fair, and a CNN review of his cases found he ruled in favor of oil
companies only slightly more often than he ruled against them. But his connections to the industry have raised eyebrows at a time when BP is under
fire for the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
Federal financial disclosure forms obtained by CNN show that since 2003, Hughes has consistently been paid annual fees from the oil and gas industry,
mostly in the form of lease payments for wells and mineral rights on land he owns. None of the payments comes from BP, but his holdings include mutual
funds that draw income from Anadarko Petroleum, a minority owner in the well now pouring up to 2.5 million gallons a day into the Gulf.
In some cases, the amounts are significant. In others, the payments are relatively small.
Oil giant ConocoPhillips paid him between $50,000 and $100,000 in 2008, the last year in which records are publicly available. In a note attached to
the 2008 form, Hughes said he expected the amounts to be relatively similar for 2009. He gets smaller amounts from smaller producers such as Sun Oil,
Everest Oil and Wagner Oil, which pay for the right to drill oil and gas from lands he owns.
The federal disclosure form does not require exact amounts, only estimates and approximate figures.Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
This is hardly surprising at all. What's really sad, is that anyone appointed over this mess is going to have oil ties and these ties will be
minimized. I expect the cover up to go full blown in the next several months and frankly, I'm surprised that CNN is even reporting on this. Even if
this judge gets passed up for another, that other will will be connected somehow and I'm sure s/he will not only show leniency to BP, but they will
also aid in the inevitable cover up. The "elites" will win out again, as they always do. Americans and people of the world need to wake up and start
holding these people, corporations and governments accountable for their actions, lest we find ourselves completely flat on our bums.