Secret BP Request Line Let Politicians Score Free Tickets

By Niraj Chokshi

For more than ten years, the oil company has been running a secret phone line in California that politicians, regulators and their staff could use to score free tickets, Mother Jones reports. Call the number, leave a message, and the tickets may or may not mysteriously appear:


BP has given away roughly $300,000 worth of tickets over the past 10 years, handing them out to everyone from lowly assembly clerks to top lawmakers. In March 2002, when the Sacramento Kings were locked in a playoff battle with the Los Angeles Lakers, 9 state senators and 12 state assembly members, including the speaker, pumped BP for the coveted seats. While serving as assembly speaker in 2006, Los Angeles Democrat Fabian Núñez and his family watched the Kings beat the Chicago Bulls on BP's dime. During Democrat Karen Bass' tenure as speaker between 2008 and 2010, 13 members of her staff tapped BP for tickets to see Disney on Ice, Tina Turner, and Madea's Big Happy Family. Núñez and Bass did not accept requests for interviews.

Read the full story at Mother Jones.

(h/t David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo)

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/07/secret-bp-request-line-let-politicians-score-free-tickets/60064/