Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The Associated Press reports that Ken Feinberg announced on Tuesday that he will disclose BP's compensation to him for administering the $20 billion BP oil-spill claims fund, after he had previously stated such information would be "confidential" and "between [him] and BP." Feinberg now concedes the "perception of a conflict." Feinberg also said the he might request that than an outsider "with great credibility" set his salary. (H/t to Ted Frank of the Center for Class Action Fairness for apprising me of this development.)
On Sunday, July 18, I posted about the possible conflict of interest for Feinberg, arguing that he should disclose his compensation and seek a federal judge to assess his billable hours and rate, as is routinely done in class-action fee requests by class counsel. My post triggered a short article by Forbes and a post on Legal Ethics forum. I doubt my post had anything specifically to do with Feinberg's decisionmaking, but I'm happy that he has decided both to disclose his compensation and to seek a reputable third party to oversee his compensation, rather than BP (presumably, BP will agree to whatever the third-party determines). As I mentioned in my earlier post, I never meant to call into question Feinberg's integrity; rather, I urged this path as a way to help the success of the fund by removing any possible conflict of interest, and I expect that both Feinberg and BP will be happy to put this issue behind them.
UPDATE -- A Forbes article today discusses my prior blog post and Feinberg's recent decision to disclose his compensation.