Louisiana Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Melancon is calling on BP to suspend paying executive bonuses and instead use that money to help Gulf Coast families reeling from the disaster. From the Associated Press:

U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon has asked the chairman of BP to suspend performance bonuses indefinitely for the company’s top executives and use those funds to assist Louisianians affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Carl-Henrik Svanberg, Melancon says BP chief executive Tony Hayward’s $3 million bonus he received last year would cover the salaries for 50 offshore workers who have lost jobs due to the offshore drilling moratorium imposed as a result of the company’s drilling disaster in the Gulf.

Melancon says suspending bonuses for top-ranking executives represents “a small first step in the long process of restoring some semblance of trust between the people of Louisiana and BP.”

From Melancon’s letter, via ThinkProgress:

I find it inexcusable for top BP executives to claim seven-figure bonuses while Louisianians suffer as a result of your company’s drilling disaster in the Gulf.In light of the persistent failures of BP’s top management, I am calling for all future bonuses to BP’s top executives to be suspended indefinitely.

These bonuses would be better applied toward meeting the company’s obligations to the thousands of Louisianians whose lives have been destroyed as a result of this disaster.

Executives who preside over a corporate culture that promotes cutting corners over safety, mislead the public, and stonewall Congress in their testimony do not deserve performance bonuses by any standard or measure. Suspending bonuses for top-ranking executives represents, in my view, a small first step in the long process of restoring some semblance of trust between the people of Louisiana and BP.

Agreed.

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