Today, the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) seeks answers to questions about Senator John McCain’s Chief Strategist, Charlie Black, and his Congressional lobbying efforts on behalf of companies that do business with Iran, including Chinese oil conglomerate CNOOC. Ultimately, the deal Black lobbied for was defeated by Congress in part because of CNOOC’s ties to Iran.
Charlie Black, working for his firm Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, was paid $60,000 to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of the Chinese oil conglomerate CNOOC. At the time, CNOOC was mounting an aggressive bid to buy Unocal, a California-based oil giant, and Black was tasked with churning up congressional support. But the bid ultimately fell through, in part because of objections over the China oil industry's ties to Iran, a country in which it had already invested tens of millions of dollars…Flash-forward nearly three years and Black’s old client…later scored a $16 billion deal with the Iranian government. (Stein, Huffington Post, 6/2/08)
The CNOOC deal also elicited outrage from Reps. Joe Barton, (R-TX), then Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Ralph Hall, (R-TX), then Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality. In a June 27, 2005 letter to President Bush, they were “compelled to express deep concern about the proposed acquisition of Unocal by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation” and that “this transaction poses a clear threat to the energy and national security of the United States.”
McCain, who recently urged further divestment from Iran, has several links between his campaign advisers and Iran. One such connection is McCain’s Chief Economic Adviser and head of the Republican National Committee Victory Fund, Carly Fiorina, who was CEO of Hewlett-Packard when the company surreptitiously avoided the trade boycott of Iran.
NJDC has been arguing that we should judge candidates based on their voting records and public statements. However, McCain and his allies insist on using guilt by association when looking at Democratic candidates. If this is their standard, then we call on them to explain why McCain’s Chief Strategist lobbied for a deal that, according to Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), was “a clear threat to the energy and national security of the United States.”
Black also lobbied for General Electric while they had business dealings with Iran:
Charlie Black Earned $800,000 From 1999 - 2002 For His Firm Lobbying For General Electric Capital Services. Charlie Black was a registered lobbyist for General Electric Capital Services, a subsidiary of General Electric Co., from 1999-2002. His firm, BKSH & Associates earned $800,000 from the lobbying activities. (Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed 5/20/08)
• 2000: While Black Served As Their Lobbyist, GE Supplied Hydroelectric Generators To Iran. In 2000, General Electric Canada Inc. agreed to supply four hydroelectric generators to Iran Water and Power Resources Development Co. According to the Globe & Mail "William Thompson, the city's comptroller, filed a shareholders' resolution yesterday demanding that GE's board of directors create a committee to review the company's business operations in Iran, which has been classified as a ‘sponsor of terrorism' by the U.S. federal government." (Globe and Mail, 2/11/03)
• General Electric Halted New Business From Iran In 2005, But Left The Door Open For Future Commerce With Iran. In February 2005, the Associated Press reported, "General Electric Co., which has been accused of collecting ‘blood money' by doing business in Iran, will stop accepting any new orders for business in the country, company officials said... The decision, which became effective Tuesday, comes amid tensions and threats of sanctions over Iran's nuclear program." Gary Sheffer, a GE spokesman said, "This moratorium on new orders will be re-evaluated as conditions relating to Iran change." (Associated Press, 2/3/05)
These sources are from McCain Source.