Will He or Won’t He? Ron Johnson’s Back-and-Forth on Selling His BP Stock

Jul 25, 2010


Follow the DPW Timeline and See How Much Johnson Earned
Defending Big Oil on the Campaign Trail

MADISON — First he wouldn’t sell, then he would sell. But has multimillionaire Senate Candidate Ron Johnson actually divested himself of the BP stock that he hid from voters for more than a month while he defended Big Oil on the campaign trail? Or will he continue his defense of Big Oil on the campaign trail while he waits for the stock to rebound?

“Ron Johnson has been cheerleading for Big Oil on the campaign trail, saying that now isn’t the time to be beating up on oil companies,” said Mike Tate, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “In each and every case he didn’t say one word about the hundreds of thousands of dollars he had invested in BP and Big Oil. He’s not shooting straight with the voters.”

When the media revealed Johnson’s extensive holdings in Big Oil more than a month after the deadline had passed for him to file his Personal Financial Disclosure, Johnson’s campaign said that his extensive Big Oil stocks, including up to $315,000 In BP, would not be sold.

Aides to Johnson said he had no plans to sell the stock and shouldn’t be criticized for owning such a popular and common stock.
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/9/10)

But days later, Johnson reversed himself saying he would sell the stock and use it to fund his campaign: 

At a weekend rally in Waukesha, Johnson said would sell the stock as part of the holdings he would liquidate to help pay for his campaign against Senate Democrat Russ Feingold. [Senate candidate accused of keeping BP investments secret,” Pierce County Herald, 7/13/10]

What changed in four days? The BP stock price gained almost 10 percent, earning Johnson up to $39,490. But since Johnson told voters he would sell the stock, it has lost value. So did Johnson really sell the stock, or is he again playing a waiting game? 

Below is a timeline of Ron Johnson’s defense of Big Oil, and the maximum estimated value of his investments in BP on that day, based on the day’s high value.


“Big Pharma and Big Oil are not evil.”


[Lincoln Day Dinner, Oshkosh, 3/21/10]

Ron Johnson on BP:

“This is not the time to be beating up on
those guys, quite honestly”


[Hot Air with Ed Morrissey, 6/2/10]

Ron Johnson on whether the Gulf spill should prompt more caution
 before undertaking new oil-drilling projects



[Associated Press, 6/5/10]


Ron Johnson on his support for Great Lakes oil drilling:

 “And I think we have to get the oil where it is.”


[WisPolitics 6/14/10]