Indicted Former BP Official Moves To Dismiss Charge That He Lied To Congress

Posted On Friday, March 8, 2013
By: Leslie A. Mariotti

David Rainey, BP’s former vice president of Gulf of Mexico Exploration, has moved to dismiss the charge that he misled Congress about the rate at which oil flowed from the blown out Macondo well into the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

According to Rainey, under federal law, obstruction of a congressional investigation is limited to “a duly authorized inquiry and investigation by a committee or House of Congress.” Rainey alleges that the government’s charge that he obstructed a congressional investigation fails as a matter of law because the allegedly false and misleading statements that he provided were in response to a request for information by Representative Ed Markey, who was acting in his individual capacity as a Member of Congress when he sent his letter request to BP. 

Rainey also claims that the charge should be dismissed because it has not been alleged that he knew of the pending investigation by a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee; the federal law he is being prosecuted under does not apply to subcommittee investigations; and the charge is “unconstitutionally vague.”

Rainey was indicted on November 14, 2012 on two counts: obstruction of a congressional investigation (18 U.S.C § 1505), and making a false statement to a law enforcement official (18 U.S.C. § 1001).

In a related matter, the civil trial against BP continues in New Orleans.  On Wednesday, Randy Ezell, a Transocean employee who survived the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, provided key testimony about the misinterpretation of tests that could have provided warning of the potential for a blowout.  He also testified abut his experience living through the disaster that killed 11 people.  According to the Huffington Post, Ezell said BP’s well site leaders on the rig ultimately were responsible for deciding how the tests were performed and interpreting the results.  As reported previously on White-Collared, if found to have been grossly negligent, BP could be held liable for as much as $21 billion under the Clean Water Act.