The Keystone XL Corporations Lining Speaker Boehner's Pockets

January 18, 2012 11:35 am ET — Brian Powell

Rep. John Boehner

Rep. John Boehner's (R-OH) tenure as Speaker of the House has had mixed reviews. He's demonstrated a lack of control over his party on some issues and a refusal to compromise with Democrats on others. But on one issue in particular, Boehner has been determined to show leadership: pushing for the rapid construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would connect the oil sands of Alberta, Canada with refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. Boehner has made several public statements urging the Obama administration to approve the project, he's pressed the issue fervently on the speaker's blog, and in December he pushed a bill that unnecessarily coupled an extension of the payroll tax cut to a requirement that the president make a decision on the pipeline permit within 60 days, regardless of environmental concerns.

And it's no wonder that Speaker Boehner has latched onto the Keystone XL pipeline as a leadership priority. After all, Boehner has invested somewhere between $106,000 and $365,000 in companies that would benefit from the pipeline's swift approval. His purchases — in companies like Chevron and ConocoPhillips — conveniently began in 2009, when the Keystone XL project was in its infancy and when Boehner was on the cusp of becoming Speaker of the House.

But there's more. Boehner has also been profiting from a rash of political donations from these same companies he's invested in and others that would benefit tremendously from the Keystone XL project. Since 2008, Boehner has received tens of thousands of dollars — well into six figures — from companies like ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Marathon Oil, Koch Industries and more.

So using his clout as Speaker of the House to push the Keystone XL project through appears to be a huge win-win for Boehner's pocketbook. Surprisingly, this kind of financial influence is not illegal — but it certainly seems like a significant conflict of interest. It's something to keep in mind when watching Boehner tout the project's inflated job-creation estimates or dismissing environmental concerns about the oil pipeline as "nonsense." Who is the Speaker really looking out for?

Read our research on Speaker Boehner's investments in Keystone XL companies HERE.