Ethics group urges investigation of Republican Rep. Tom Petri

This is yet another example of how fixated so many Republican elected officials are with lining their own pockets, regardless of what ethical or legal lines they have to cross.

A nonpartisan watchdog group is crying foul over the “obvious conflict of interest” between Rep. Tom Petri’s official actions and his personal finances.

Craig Holman, senior legislative director for Washington-based nonprofit Public Citizen, said the Office of Congressional Ethics should investigate the Wisconsin Republican’s advocacy on behalf of a defense contractor in which he owns a considerable amount of stock.

“This is not just benefiting a major campaign contributor, this is going into his own pocket,” Holman said in an interview.

The Gannett Wisconsin Media Washington bureau reported last weekend that Petri bought hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock in Oshkosh Corp., a military truck manufacturer based in his district. He then pressed colleagues on the Hill and officials at the Pentagon to help the company retain a $3 billion military contract and escape Pentagon cuts. At the same time, the value of his investment in Oshkosh has grown 30 percent.

Predictably, a spokesperson for Rep. Petri said Petri’s personal ownershipof hundreds of thousands of dollars in Oshkosh Corp. stock absolutely did not influence his official actions on behalf of Oshkosh Corp.

And if you believe that, I’ve got some prime real estate in Florida to sell you.


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