"WASHINGTON -- Rep. Joe Barton has earned nearly $100,000 from an interest in natural gas wells that he purchased from a longtime campaign donor who also advised the congressman on energy policy, according to interviews and records.
At a hearing last month of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Barton said he was "a small, small partner in a natural gas well in Johnson County in the Barnett Shale that is probably my 4-year-old son's college education." He later told a reporter that he couldn't remember precisely how he obtained the interest.
Land records show that Barton, R-Arlington, purchased his interest from Walter G. Mize, a Cleburne businessman who donated more than $30,000 to Barton's campaigns.
Mize urged Barton to create a federal oil and gas research program that was included in a 2005 energy law. Barton's ties to Mize, who died in 2008, go back 20 years, according to friends of both men."