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Joe Barton: Who is defending him?

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But Barton has his defenders. There are people in Washington who believe that by using the pulpit power of the presidency to push BP in that direction the president did indeed exceed his authority.

This was the headline on an analysis posted Friday on the Heritage Foundation website: “Joe Barton is Right: There Was a $20 Billion Shakedown in the White House.”

Heritage analyst Conn Carroll notes in the piece that BP has, among other things, received no assurance from the White House that it won’t ask for more money, and no assurance that final damages won’t be higher. And by the way, the whole thing was negotiated in the presence of Attorney General Eric Holder, who has threatened BP with criminal prosecution.

The real victim was not even BP, writes Mr. Carroll. “It was the rule of law.”

At National Review Online, Daniel Foster says that Barton’s choice of words was awful, but that on substance, he was right. Establishing a fund over and above an existing claims process is, if not illegal, “then at least extra-legal,” writes Mr. Foster.

And prior to Thursday’s hearing, the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group of conservative GOP members, used “shakedown” to describe the White House escrow-establishment process.

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