Schaffer's energy experience a major plus
Liberal special interests have been attempting to paint Senate candidate Bob Schaffer as somehow in the pocket of “big oil”. During these times of $4 gasoline, Schaffer should react to “criticism” of having worked in the energy industry in much the same way that Br’er Rabbit reacted to threats of being thrown into the briar patch, but the misrepresentations by Schaffer’s opponents nevertheless cry out for correction.
Congressman Schaffer worked for Colorado-based Aspect Energy for about five years, beginning in 2003. Aspect Energy is hardly “big oil.” Rather it is a small-to-mid-sized independent energy producer, less than one percent of the size of the well-known energy “majors”. Approximately 80% of Aspect’s business is natural gas production, and during Schaffer’s time at the company his primary focus was on the company’s wind energy project. Indeed, according to Schaffer’s former boss, Alex Cranberg, only about ten percent of Schaffer’s work at Aspect was related to oil. If it is somehow reasonable to call Bob Schaffer an “oil executive”, it is more reasonable to call him a “renewable energy executive” despite the constant attention by his opponents and the media to the very narrow fraction of his job that dealt with oil.
As for Schaffer’s compensation during that time, something his opponents are advertising as if he should have been working for free, his salary for each of the five years was $160,000…one thousand dollars lower than Mark Udall’s average annual government salary during that same time.
Without the benefit of their tax returns, estimating they each paid a 25% federal income tax rate after all deductions, Bob Schaffer would have contributed about $200,000 to the federal Treasury in income tax payments on his salary over the five years he worked at Aspect Energy. On the other hand, Mark Udall would have been a $604,000 net drain on taxpayers…not including his non-salary costs such as pension accrual and other benefits he will keep after retirement from Congress, with taxpayers continuing to foot the bill. (Schaffer has no such benefits from Aspect, though he did receive a one-time severance package...which he will pay taxes on.)
Of course, I don’t believe Congressmen should work without compensation any more than Schaffer or anybody else should. However, I do believe that compensation should reflect actual (or at least expected) productivity. And by that standard, Udall owes us all a refund.
During his five years in the energy industry, Bob Schaffer contributed substantially to the federal coffers while working for a local company on projects to increase supply and lower the cost of energy. During that same time, Mark Udall took his salary from the American taxpayers while doing everything in his power to make energy as costly as possible, following the wishes of every liberal and environmentalist group at the expense of the average American who needs to drive to work or heat his home.
While liberal activists think campaign contributions to Bob Schaffer from energy companies are worth criticizing, it is no less interesting to note that Udall has received tens of thousands of dollars from groups such as the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters (Udall’s largest donor in the past year), and the American Wind Energy Association, all of whom have a clear interest in forcing up the price of gasoline, electricity, and all other non-imaginary forms of large-scale energy supply. One wonders whom these people think would supply fuel for their Priuses without the existence of “big oil”, or even “medium-sized gas, oil, and solar” such as Schaffer’s former employer.
Would you rather support Bob Schaffer whose views on energy policy might allow oil companies to profit while they are expanding the supply and lowering the price of the fuel you need to use every day, or Mark Udall whose energy policies have forced you to cut back on dining out, going on vacation, and saving for your retirement while ironically also contributing to the profits of “big oil” he and his liberal friends hate so much?
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