Wis. Senate hopeful has at least $116K in BP stock

By Associated Press
Monday, July 12, 2010 15:57 EDT
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Wis. Senate hopeful Johnson has at least $116,000 in BP stock, thousands in 2 other oil stocks

Ron Johnson, a leading Republican challenger for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat, owns at least $116,000 in BP stock plus substantial shares in two other oil companies.

Recently released campaign finance documents show the Oshkosh businessman has between $116,000 and $315,000 in BP PLC stock. It was a BP-operated rig that blew up in April, killing 11 people and setting off the massive oil spill that the company is working to control.

Johnson also owns $50,000 to $101,000 in Exxon Mobil Corp. and $15,000 to $50,000 in Occidental Petroleum Corp., the documents show.

The exact figures aren’t available because the federal report only requires a candidate to check boxes that list asset values in broad ranges.

Johnson will take on Watertown businessman Dave Westlake in a state primary Sept. 14. The winner will face Sen. Russ Feingold, the Democratic incumbent seeking his fourth term, on Nov. 2.

Johnson, 55, the owner of a company that makes plastic packaging, has previously criticized the manner in which the government treated BP. He said the oil company was negligent and should be held accountable, but said the government “circumvent(ed) the rule of law” in forcing BP to set aside $20 billion for Gulf residents and businesses hurt by the spill.

Johnson’s oil stocks represent only a fraction of his multimillion-dollar portfolio. His report lists a total of 153 stock and bond holdings that cover a range of industries from pharmaceuticals to consumer electronics to automakers.

The portfolio “doesn’t strike me as excessively tilted” toward one sector or another, said Mordecai Lee, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “He’s obviously an active investor. This looks pretty blue chip to me.”

Feingold’s disclosure report, filed last month, lists a single asset — a mutual fund valued between $50,000 and $100,000.

Westlake filed his most recent report in August 2009. It lists four assets, each worth between $1,000 and $15,000.

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