“I Don’t Remember. I Can’t Recall”

By Larry J. Schweiger

Congressman Joe Barton of Texas has received almost $100,000 for a share in a natural gas well he purchased from longtime campaign supporter Walter Mize.

When asked by a reporter, he said he “couldn’t remember precisely how he obtained the interest,” even though he listed on his 2008 House disclosure report that he purchased it from EOG Resources.

At a time when Cong. Barton is the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee as it considers climate and energy legislation that would affect natural gas producers, Cong. Barton’s reply reminded me of President Nixon’s advice to his otherwise detail-oriented Chief of Staff Haldeman for avoiding self incrimination under oath on the Watergate scandal: “Just be…sure you don’t say ‘I don’t remember; I can’t recall.’”