Bobby Shriver is the brother of our state’s former First Lady, Maria Shriver. He’s the son of Sargent Shriver, who started the Peace Corps, and the nephew of President Kennedy. Bobby Shriver is a graduate of Yale Law School, and has also served as mayor of Santa Monica. He is now running for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors as an environmentalist promising to ‘…clean up Santa Monica Bay and the beaches, and to create and maintain our parks.’
Hunter Schwarz writes for BuzzFeed, and has been looking into Bobby Shriver’s investments.
David: Hunter, you write in BuzzFeed, ‘He purchased $1.1 million in oil and gas stocks in 2010,’ companies that do offshore drilling?
Hunter: Yeah, that’s correct.
David: What companies?
Hunter: Exxon Mobil, Occidental Petroleum, Sunoco Logistics Partners, TransOcean. TransOcean is the offshore drilling company that was behind the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico a few years back.
David: When you say he’s bought oil companies, a lot of people his age buy mutual funds that are a basket of stocks, and they end up unwittingly owning stocks in oil companies. But you’re saying that he went out and purposely purchased stock in TransOcean, which helped contribute to the BP oil spill?
Hunter: Bobby Shriver said himself that the only stocks that he specifically picked were Berkshire Hathaway, Harley Davidson and Starbucks. That’s what the campaign is saying, that these were oil drilling stocks that other people picked for him.
David: Well, he did work as a venture capitalist at one time in his life.
Hunter: He told the Los Angeles Times that when he had people pick stocks for him, he had one thing that he wouldn’t let them do, and that was buy stocks from companies in South Africa during apartheid. That was the only prohibition he’s ever placed on any purchase of stock.
David: What is the Arctic Royalty Limited Partnership?
Hunter: The Arctic Royalty Limited Partnership had 143 oil and gas lease sites in Texas and Oklahoma.
David: This is a company that is drilling for oil in Texas and Oklahoma?
Hunter: Yeah, mm hmm.
David: He receives royalties from these drilling sites?
Hunter: In 2011, he made between $10,000 and $100,000 from Arctic Royalty Limited Partnership.
David: Okay. That’s not a lot of money for a Kennedy, is it?
Hunter: No. But he has a lot more that is invested in his stock portfolio. It’s a minor thing, but it is there on his public records about his economic interests.
David: Have you looked at his entire investment portfolio?
Hunter: I’ve looked at everything that he’s filed for the past several years.
David: Do you know what his net worth is?
Hunter: No, I do not.
David: Does he have to reveal what his net worth is?
Hunter: I’m not sure. The thing with these public records is they’re not too specific, like, it says that he owns stock in Exxon Mobil, but when it says how much he actually owns, it just says $10,000 to $100,000. So that gives you this huge range, and that’s about as specific as it gets.
Hunter: There’s only a few public records that give us a glimpse into his finances.
David: These are not oil stocks that he inherited. What are the other stocks that he’s purchased?
Hunter: El Paso Pipeline, Enbridge Energy Partners, Energy Transfer Partners, Enterprise Product, OEG Resources, NuStar Energy, Plains All American Pipeline, Southwestern Energy.
David: These are the stocks that he purchased for $1.1 million in 2010. Correct?
Hunter: To $1.1 million, that’s the maximum it could be.
David: I’m sorry, when you say it’s the maximum it could be, what do you mean by that?
Hunter: With the very big range that he could have purchased, he doesn’t have to say exactly how much he got. And so, if you add up all the stocks that he purchased and the maximum amount that he listed he could have purchased it for, it totals to $1.1 million.
David: And if you were to give him the benefit of the doubt, what would the low end of that total purchase be?
Hunter: Just over $100,000.
David: In 2010?
Hunter: Mm-hmm. Correct.
David: It’s fair to say then that in 2010, he could have purchased anywhere between $100,000 to $1.1 million of stock in 11 oil/gas companies, correct?
David: And it wouldn’t be lower than $100,000?
David: So that’s just for 2010, alone. Caroline Kennedy (his first cousin), our ambassador to Japan, is also part of the Arctic Royalty Limited Partnership?
David: But this week she spoke out against the dolphin hunt going on in Japan.
David: What is Bobby Shriver’s record on the environment? Even though he owns stock in these companies, could he still be an environmentalist?
Hunter: From 2001 to 2008, he was Chairman of the State Parks and Recreation Commission. While he was mayor of Santa Monica, he pushed for Measure V. Measure V was passed in 2006, and it raised property taxes for urban runoff, water quality and treatments. He does have a record of supporting environmental issues.
David: Well, Hunter Schwarz writes for BuzzFeed, and he’s been looking into Bobby Shriver’s investments. Thank you for doing that.
What do you think? Can a politician own stock in oil companies and still protect our environment? Leave a comment down below.