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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. LeMieux's office has family ties to BP



The husband of Sen. George LeMieux's chief of staff has been hired to help BP navigate its public relations nightmare.

Feheery.jpg John Feehery, a GOP consultant and TV pundit, is part of a stable of new hires to help the oil company. His wife Kerry joined LeMieux when he was appointed to fill out the final 16 months of Mel Martinez's term. She has previously worked in Washington for Gov. Charlie Crist.

The ties underscore the web of Washington life but could be particularly awkward now given BP's name is dirt in Florida and pretty much the rest of America. LeMieux has added criticism to the company, and was among those calling for escrow fund. More recently he has focused on the federal response, saying it is slow and inadequate.

"John Feehery handles some public relations for BP and his work remains independent of any work Sen. LeMieux does," said deputy chief of staff Vivian Myrtetus.

LeMieux previously faced questions for his role in advising a secretive oil industry group that was trying to push a pro-drilling bill through the Florida Legislature.

Feehery, pictured above, argues on his blog that making BP a villian is counter productive.

"Banning off-shore drilling in the Gulf not only puts thousands of people in the gulf out of work, it also will make us even more reliant on foreign oil. Taking overly harsh steps to 'punish' BP may make the President’s men feel better about themselves, but it makes it harder for BP to pay off all the claims that are coming in from the region. Driving the company to financial ruin may make the left feel fine, but it makes millions of shareholders (many of whom have BP stock in their pension funds) cry."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:44am]


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