While filling in as a guest host on MSNBC, the Rev. Al Sharpton blasted Rep. Mike Kelly for his support of taxpayer handouts to Big Oil companies and reported on his large stakeholdings in the oil industry.
The story was first reported by ThinkProgress.org, which filmed Kelly at a town hall meeting battling with angry constituents who challenged his justification for federal subsidies for oil companies.
“A Republican congressman defending big oil-that’s not new. What is new is doing it when you have investment in big oil companies,” boomed Sharpton on the TV network.
In a short video clip that aired on MSNBC, Kelly was seen arguing that many pension plans rely on energy companies to remain profitable.
Sharpton snapped back, stating, “Oil companies are doing just fine on profits. ExxonMobil made almost $11 billion in the first three months of this year. We taxpayers subsidized oil companies so that they can make more money.”
Another clip showed the congressman asking citizens: “Is there anybody in here that has a pension? Anybody have a portfolio? I want you to very carefully look at those portfolios. Those are usually made up of profitable companies.”
Sharpton retorted, citing reports of Kelly’s own portfolio that reveal he invested up to $6 million in companies owned by ExxonMobil and involved in gas drilling in areas within the congressman’s district. In addition, Kelly received over $20,000 from the oil and gas industry during his 2010 campaign.
In response to Sharpton’s on-air segment, Kelly’s office released the following statement.
“Mike feels very blessed that both his family and his wife’s family have achieved success after decades of hard work, personal sacrifice, and significant adversity. By the grace of God and through the hard work of many, the Kellys have achieved the american dream…Both Mike’s and Mrs. Kelly’s families have a strong history of philanthropy and have been able to give back to their communities as a result of their success, a record of service the reverend surely would approve of.”