Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) is no longer a shareholder in the nation’s highly profitable oil and gas industry. Why? Because Al Sharpton yelled at him.
The story began last week, when ThinkProgess flagged Kelly’s $6.25 million in oil and gas shares and a question the freshman Republican was asked about it at a June town hall meeting. Then came Sharpton’s attack on Kelly on MSNBC.
Now Kelly has surrendered to both progressive voices, selling off all of his shares in both companies noted by ThinkProgress. Both firms were founded by Kelly’s wife’s family, the AP reports.
The liberal complaint, of course, is that Kelly was defending federal oil and gas company subsidies, which Democrats wanted to eliminate as part of the budget debate.
“A Republican Congressman defending big oil, that’s not new,” Sharpton said while guest-hosting MSNBC. “What is new: doing when you have investment in big oil companies. And that’s our ‘con job’ of the day.”
Kelly’s retort was pretty standard GOP boilerplate on the topic. From ThinkProgress:
CONSTITUENT: Why are we subsidizing them?
KELLY: If you really want to understand the whole thing, I would say that, number one, we want companies to be profitable. I said earlier about the class warfare, if we’re going to start classifying, “they’re too rich, they’re too wealthy, they’re too greedy. We don’t get enough, we need more, and we need to have rich people putting more money in. We need, we need, we need, we need, we need, we need, we need.”
Kelly at first dismissed the talk about the oil and gas company stock.
“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,” his office said in a statement sent to PoliticsPA.com last week. “By the grace of God and through the hard work of many, the Kellys have achieved the American Dream.”
Kelly’s office also took the expected shot at Sharpton.
“Although Mr. Kelly has never met Reverend Sharpton,” the statement read, “he is not surprised by his comments given the Reverend’s history of divisive and polarizing commentary and not telling the whole story.”
Days later, it appears Kelly decided to buckle to Sharpton’s attacks, scoring a victory for the progressives who’ve been hounding the Republican for days. Progressives have been on his case over his wealth since he ran. AFSCME dropped a tough ad on him in the 2010 cycle entitled simply, “What’s Wrong With Millionaire Mike Kelly?”
Kelly’s spokesperson “says she doesn’t know when the transactions took place,” the AP reports, “but says they’ll be detailed in a financial disclosure form Kelly is in the process of filing.”