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View Full Version : Elections McCain's Oil Industry Fraud Problem - After flip-flopping of offshore drilling...


jAZ
08-04-2008, 01:42 PM
... it looks like lots of oil money flooded from Hess Oil on the day he flipped on this issue.

http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/08/oil_company_executives.php

Ten senior Hess Corporation executives and/or members of the Hess family each gave $28,500 to the joint RNC-McCain fundraising committee, just days after McCain reversed himself to favor offshore drilling, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

Nine of these contributions, seven from Hess executives and two from members of the Hess family, came on the same day, June 24th, the records show. The total collected in the wake of McCain's reversal for the fund, called McCain Victory 2008, from Hess execs and family is $285,000.

While that's revealing, it's not a problem for McCain. If there's a problem comes from this...

http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/08/hess_corporation_office_manage.php

It turns out that Hess executives aren't the only ones who gave such huge sums to elect McCain -- generosity towards McCain apparently extends down into lower levels of Hess staff. A lower level employee gave the same, too, and so did her husband, even though he works for Amtrak.

The FEC filings show that Alice Rocchio, who's identified as a Hess office manager, and her husband, Pasquale Rocchio, who's described as an Amtrak "track foreman," each separately donated $28,500 to the RNC-McCain fund, which is called McCain Victory 2008. They gave the money on June 24th, the same day that the ten Hess execs and family members each shelled out the same amount.

So the Rocchios, who live in Flushing, Queens, donated a total of $57,000 to McCain's efforts.
...and...

http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/08/hess_employee_rents.php

Martin Bernstein, a city assessor at the New York Department of Finance
Queens Assessment Office, has just confirmed to us by phone that the Rocchios rent their home.

mlyonsd
08-04-2008, 01:44 PM
Meanwhile Obama has received almost a half a million dollars from big oil.

bkkcoh
08-04-2008, 01:45 PM
The McCain campaign must have hired on some of the Clinton's old fund raisers or was it Gore's?

dirk digler
08-04-2008, 01:46 PM
McCain is still corrupt and hasn't changed since Keating 5

mlyonsd
08-04-2008, 01:52 PM
McCain is still corrupt and hasn't changed since Keating 5

To be fair he's as corrupt as Obama.

jAZ
08-06-2008, 04:25 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/06/AR2008080602485.html

Bundler Collects From Unlikely Donors

By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 6, 2008; 5:07 PM

The bundle of $2,300 and $4,600 checks that poured into Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign on March 12 came from an unlikely group of California donors: a mechanic from D&D Auto Repair in Whittier, the manager of Taco Bell stores in Riverside, the owners of a liquor store in Colton.

But the man who gathered checks from them is no stranger to McCain -- he shuttled the Republican on his private plane and held a fundraising event for the candidate at his house in Delray Beach, Fla.

Harry Sargeant III, a former naval officer and the owner of an oil-trading company that recently inked defense contracts potentially worth more than $1 billion, is the archetype of a modern presidential money man. The law forbids high-level supporters from writing huge checks, but with help from friends in the Middle East and the former chief of the CIA's bin Laden unit -- who now serves as a consultant to his company -- Sargeant has raised more than $100,000 for three presidential candidates from a collection of ordinary people, several of whom professed little interest in the outcome of the election.

After initially helping to raise money for former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican, and Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sargeant, 50, has emerged as a major player in Florida fundraising for McCain. He has also become a conduit between McCain and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), who was Sargeant's college fraternity brother and remains a close friend.

Crist, a beneficiary of Sargeant's fundraising network, said he saw nothing unusual in its breadth. "I was not surprised, but I certainly was grateful for his and his family's efforts," he said, adding that he anticipates Sargeant assisting McCain not only with fundraising but also with advice on military affairs and the economy. "He's been enormously helpful . . . already," Crist said.

The 2008 presidential campaign, which could see each side spend close to $500 million, has heightened the importance of "bundlers" such as Sargeant, who not only write checks themselves but also recruit scores of other donors to give the legal limit of $2,300. Questions about such donor networks have repeatedly emerged as points of stress for the campaigns.

In January, Norman Hsu, a top Clinton bundler, was indicted in part on charges of circumventing legal giving limits by routing contributions though "straw donors." Earlier this week, McCain drew questions about more than $60,000 in donations that were made this year to the Republican National Committee and his campaign by an office manager with the Hess oil company and her husband, an Amtrak track foreman. In that case, the couple said they used their own money.

Some of the most prolific givers in Sargeant's network live in modest homes in Southern California's Inland Empire. Most had never given a political contribution before being contacted by Sargeant or his associates. Most said they have never voiced much interest in politics. And in several instances, they had never registered to vote. And yet, records show, some families have ponied up as much as $18,400 for various candidates between December and March.

Both Sargeant and the donors were vague when asked to explain how Sargeant persuaded them to give away so much money.

"I have a lot of Arab business partners. I do a lot of business in the Middle East. I've got a lot of friends," Sargeant said in a telephone interview yesterday. "I ask my friends to support candidates that I think are worthy of supporting. They usually come through for me."

Sargeant's business relationships, and the work they perform together, occur away from the public eye. His firm, International Oil Trading Co. (IOTC), holds several lucrative contracts with the Defense Department to carry fuel to the U.S. military in Iraq.

"It is very difficult and is a very logistically intensive business that we have been able to specialize in," Sargeant said. "We do difficult logistical things that don't necessarily suit a major oil company. It's a niche we've been able to occupy."

The work has not been without controversy. Last month, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) initiated a review of IOTC's contract to determine whether it was overcharging the military for jet fuel, and to learn how the company, which did not submit the lowest bid, landed the contract to supply the fuel. The Pentagon has said that IOTC won the contract because it was the only company with a "letter of authorization" from the Jordanian government to move the fuel across its territory to Iraq.

Sargeant said he has met with Waxman. "We plan to cooperate fully," he said. "Everything we have done on this contract has been in the best interest of the military and the U.S. taxpayers."

Sargeant said the same people who have helped him build relationships around the world also helped him create a vast network. In recruiting some donors, he confirmed he had help from a business associate who formerly was a top counterterrorism official in the CIA.

A review of state and federal campaign finance records found that this collection of donors has been activated four times. Their names -- confirmed by Sargeant -- first appeared in finance records on June 19, 2006, when about 50 of them each donated $500 to Crist's gubernatorial campaign. Sargeant helped lead fundraising for Crist that year.

Thirteen of the donors resurfaced on Dec. 13, 2007, sending a combined $29,200 to Giuliani's campaign at a time when Sargeant was heading up fundraising efforts in Florida for the former mayor. Seventeen of them sent the maximum allowed, $2,300, to Clinton's presidential campaign on Dec. 24. And a dozen of them returned in March to write checks to McCain totaling $50,600.

Brian Rogers, a McCain campaign spokesman, said: "We strictly follow campaign finance law, and where flags are raised, we'll certainly look into it."

Donors reached by phone or interviewed in person declined to explain who asked them to make the contributions.


Ibrahim Marabeh, who is listed in public records as a Rite Aid manager, at first denied that he wrote any political checks. He then said he was asked by "a local person. But I would like not to talk about it anymore." Neither he nor his wife is registered to vote, but the two donated $4,600 to Clinton and $4,600 to Giuliani in December.

At the Twilight Hookah Lounge, owned by Nadia and Shawn Abdalla, patrons smoke tobacco flavored with honey and fruit from a menu that includes the strawberry-flavored Sex on the Beach and the strong, orange-flavored Fuzzy Navel.

The Abdallas, who are not registered to vote, said in an interview that they recalled writing a check to an organization in Miami, because a person with that organization was a friend of their mother's. They said they could not remember his name.

Nader, 39, and Sahar Alhawash, 28, of Colton, Calif, who at one point ran the Avon Village Liquor store, donated a total of $18,400 to Giuliani, Clinton and McCain between December and March. About 80 people in the country made such large contributions to all three, and most were wealthy business executives, such as Donald Trump. The Alhawashes declined to comment about the donations. Abdullah Abdullah, a supervisor at several Taco Bell restaurants in the Riverside area, and his wife have donated $9,200 to McCain.

Reached at work, Abdullah said he knows little about the campaign. "I have no idea. I'll be honest with you," he said. "I'm involved in the restaurant business. My brother Faisal recommended John McCain. Whenever he makes a recommendation, we do it."

Faisal Abdullah, 49, said he helped organize all of the contributions from members of his family. When he was asked who solicited the contributions from him, he said: "Why does it matter who? I'm telling you we made the contribution. We funneled it through the channel in Florida because that's the contact we had. I was responsible for collecting it."

Staff writer Ashley Surdin in Los Angeles and research director Lucy Shackelford, research editor Alice Crites and staff researcher Julie Tate in Washington contributed to this report.

jAZ
08-06-2008, 11:53 PM
More developing...

http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/08/mystery_deepens_around_mccain.php

Mystery Deepens Around McCain Bundler Accused Of Defrauding Pentagon
By Eric Kleefeld - August 7, 2008, 12:25AM

The New York Times has elaborated on the story of Harry Sargeant, the McCain bundler who has collected some interesting donations from people who are either apolitical or actually profess to be against McCain. They uncovered an interesting new angle -- and in the process seem to have missed a bigger point.

It appears, however, that Mr. Sargeant, the finance chairman of the Florida Republican Party and the part-owner of a major oil trading firm, International Oil Trading Company, did not actually solicit the donations from the Abdullahs and their friends.

That task fell to a longtime business partner, Mustafa Abu Naba'a. Mr. Sargeant said in an interview that he has known Mr. Abu Naba'a for more than a decade and has worked with him on commercial ventures, including a contract with the Pentagon to supply fuel to the military in Iraq.

The point they failed to notice: That same contract to provide fuel for US troops in Iraq has been the subject of a lawsuit against Sargeant and Naba'a, coming from a business partner who is himself the brother-in-law of the King of Jordan. Their partner alleges that they shut him out of his rightful share of the profit after he arranged for the Jordanian government to only allow them in, despite having failed to give the lowest bid.

In other words, Sargeant and Naba'a are being sued on the grounds that they've defrauded their business partner out of his take on a deal that is in turn defrauding the U.S. taxpayer.

jAZ
08-06-2008, 11:54 PM
The McCain campaign must have hired on some of the Clinton's old fund raisers...
Heh...

After initially helping to raise money for ... Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sargeant, 50, has emerged as a major player in Florida fundraising for McCain. He has also become a conduit between McCain and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), who was Sargeant's college fraternity brother and remains a close friend.

Chief Henry
08-07-2008, 08:07 AM
I bet McCain gets more campaign money in too since he's for drilling for more oil. I'm guessing more regular individuals will be sending him $25 and $50 checks too. The regular folks know that drilling for more oil will help bring the price of fuel down and make us let dependant on the camel jockeys. Harry and Nancy should take note since they're
running the congress with dirt type approval ratings.

jAZ
08-07-2008, 12:02 PM
http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/08/mccain_advisers_have_also_doub.php

High-Ranking McCain Campaign Officials Were Paid Lobbyists For Hess
By Greg Sargent and Eric Kleefeld - August 7, 2008, 1:43PM

Okay, here's some more on the ties between the McCain campaign and the Hess Corporation, the company whose senior executives all dumped $28,500 apiece into the RNC-McCain fundraising committee at around the same time as McCain reversed his previous opposition to offshore drilling.

It turns out that two high-ranking McCain campaign officials, one of whom is also one of McCain's more prolific bundlers, were both paid lobbyists for Hess for roughly three years, according to disclosure forms.

The two lobbyists are Wayne Berman, McCain's national finance co-chairman, and John Green, who's been the McCain campaign's chief Congressional liaison since March. Both men worked for a firm called Ogilvy Government Relations. The firm has been paid $800,000 by Hess from 2005 up to the present, including $720,000 during the period that both of the two lobbied for the company, the forms say.

Berman, a prolific fundraiser and bundler for McCain, appears to still be lobbying for Hess. The most recently filed form shows that he was lobbying for the company as late as mid-July. Green took a leave of absence from Ogilvy to join the campaign, but was still on the Hess account up through the first quarter of 2008, the forms show.

There's no suggestion of any wrongdoing here. And it's unclear precisely how the two lobbyists' work is linked to the recent Hess fundraising for McCain, or even whether there's any connection at all.

But their role is newly relevant in light of the recent scrutiny of Hess' bundling for McCain, suggesting more big-money ties between the McCain campaign and the company. And the lobbying raises fair questions, according to one campaign finance watchdog.

"That John McCain's campaign also has Hess lobbyists as two of its top advisers raises additional questions about how McCain and the RNC came to raise $300,000 from Hess employees, including the controversial contribution reported earlier this week," said David Donnelly of Campaign Money Watch.

"Hess oil would stand to make a killing from offshore drilling," Donnelly continued. "Berman and Green were their lobbyists. Did they play any role in lining up these contributions?"

In mid-2005, disclosure forms show, Ogilvy (at the time known as the Federalist Group) began lobbying for Hess on energy issues, a relationship that the forms show has continued to the present. Berman and Green, though they aren't the only two at Ogilvy who worked for Hess, lobbied for the company throughout, the forms say.

None of the parties involved returned our calls.

mlyonsd
08-07-2008, 12:57 PM
http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/08/mccain_advisers_have_also_doub.php
High-Ranking McCain Campaign Officials Were Paid Lobbyists For Hess
By Greg Sargent and Eric Kleefeld - August 7, 2008, 1:43PM

Okay, here's some more on the ties between the McCain campaign and the Hess Corporation, the company whose senior executives all dumped $28,500 apiece into the RNC-McCain fundraising committee at around the same time as McCain reversed his previous opposition to offshore drilling.

It turns out that two high-ranking McCain campaign officials, one of whom is also one of McCain's more prolific bundlers, were both paid lobbyists for Hess for roughly three years, according to disclosure forms.

The two lobbyists are Wayne Berman, McCain's national finance co-chairman, and John Green, who's been the McCain campaign's chief Congressional liaison since March. Both men worked for a firm called Ogilvy Government Relations. The firm has been paid $800,000 by Hess from 2005 up to the present, including $720,000 during the period that both of the two lobbied for the company, the forms say.

Berman, a prolific fundraiser and bundler for McCain, appears to still be lobbying for Hess. The most recently filed form shows that he was lobbying for the company as late as mid-July. Green took a leave of absence from Ogilvy to join the campaign, but was still on the Hess account up through the first quarter of 2008, the forms show.

There's no suggestion of any wrongdoing here. And it's unclear precisely how the two lobbyists' work is linked to the recent Hess fundraising for McCain, or even whether there's any connection at all.

But their role is newly relevant in light of the recent scrutiny of Hess' bundling for McCain, suggesting more big-money ties between the McCain campaign and the company. And the lobbying raises fair questions, according to one campaign finance watchdog.

"That John McCain's campaign also has Hess lobbyists as two of its top advisers raises additional questions about how McCain and the RNC came to raise $300,000 from Hess employees, including the controversial contribution reported earlier this week," said David Donnelly of Campaign Money Watch.

"Hess oil would stand to make a killing from offshore drilling," Donnelly continued. "Berman and Green were their lobbyists. Did they play any role in lining up these contributions?"

In mid-2005, disclosure forms show, Ogilvy (at the time known as the Federalist Group) began lobbying for Hess on energy issues, a relationship that the forms show has continued to the present. Berman and Green, though they aren't the only two at Ogilvy who worked for Hess, lobbied for the company throughout, the forms say.

None of the parties involved returned our calls.


Does it not matter to you Obama has taken $345,000 so far from oil executives? Or is this just a McCain thing?

jAZ
08-07-2008, 05:44 PM
Does it not matter to you Obama has taken $345,000 so far from oil executives? Or is this just a McCain thing?

It doesn't matter who, it matters how and why.

McCain made a huge policy change and based on the information coming out, it appears to been triggered by a huge contributions from oil companies and arranged by McCain staffers who are and/or were paid lobbists for those oil companies.

That smells a lot like quid-pro-quo.

I don't know whether it is or not. But it's sketchy and dubious in it's appearance any respect.

If those same conditions existed surrounding Obama's contributions, it would be equally worthy of demanding to know more.

jAZ
08-07-2008, 05:58 PM
http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/08/mccain_campaign_examining_cont.php

McCain Campaign Examining Controversial Bundler's Fundraising
By Greg Sargent - August 7, 2008, 4:32PM

A McCain campaign aide confirms that the campaign is going back and examining the contributions bundled by our new friend Harry Sargeant, who was the subject of that big Washington Post piece detailing how he stockpiled money for McCain from a host of unlikely donors.

It'll be interesting to see what they find. Meanwhile, it looks like the national press is starting to pick up on the stuff we reported here yesterday about that lucrative contract delivering fuel to the U.S. military in Iraq that was allegedly wired for Sargeant by a Jordanian connection.

Getting interesting.

Late Update: It's worth noting that the McCain camp's decision to go back and look at the contributions came after revelations that some of the bundling was done by his iffy business partner, Mustafa Abu Naba.

jAZ
08-07-2008, 06:00 PM
That smells a lot like quid-pro-quo.
Maybe of a different sort?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/08/07/mccain-bundler-turned-to_n_117555.html

McCain Bundler Turned To McCain-Friendly Lobbyist In Contract Dispute
August 7, 2008 05:30 PM

The political interests of the Floridian McCain fundraiser who bundled money from a strange cast of characters extends far deeper into the federal government than previously known.

Harry Sargeant, who has raised more than $500,000 for the McCain from a host of unlikely donors, owns a refinery and fuel supply company that has spent large sums of money lobbying the government since 2000. Moreover, in 2006 the company, Trigeant Petroleum, brought on board a lobbyist with strong connections to McCain in an effort to win congressional support in its fight over a terminated contract with the Department of Defense.

It could not be immediately determined whether McCain or any other member of Congress intervened on Trigeant's behalf. The Arizona Republican's office did not return request for comment. The company ultimately succeeded in settling its suit with DoD for several million dollars. But the widening extent of Sargeant's business interests adds another layer of intrigue to concerns that he was bundling cash for the presumptive Republican nominee in hopes of future political favors.

***SPRAYER
08-07-2008, 06:06 PM
The McCain campaign must have hired on some of the Clinton's old fund raisers or was it Gore's?

Red China?

jAZ
08-07-2008, 06:14 PM
Does it not matter to you Obama has taken $345,000 so far from oil executives?

I don't know why I didn't catch this before, but what is the source for your claim that the money you mention is directly from "oil executives" (sugesting that the figure includes zero from low level oil industry employees).

There is a difference between the motivations of low level employees who don't entangle themselves in corporate lobbying and the executives who's large donations are truely on behalf of the companies interests.