SHARON, Pa. -- A Republican freshman congressman from western Pennsylvania sold his interests in two gas and oil companies long before criticism from the Rev. Al Sharpton and liberal groups who claimed the holdings amounted to a conflict of interest because he has supported continuing federal subsidies for the oil industry.
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly's press secretary tells The Herald newspaper of Sharon that Mr. Kelly's stock in Phillips Resources Inc. and T.W. Phillips Inc. has "entirely been sold off." Press secretary Julia Thornton says she doesn't know when the transactions took place, but says they'll be detailed in a financial disclosure form Mr. Kelly is in the process of filing.
Mr. Kelly, a Republican, has defended his stake in the companies, which were both founded by his wife's family.
Rev. Sharpton and the liberal blog ThinkProgress have claimed the stock was worth $6 million.
UPDATE 6:23 p.m.: The AP changed its piece to reflect the fact that Kelly sold the stocks a while before Sharpton slammed him on air. The piece above is the updated version.