McCain's senior foreign policy advisor tied to global petro-influence peddling
John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser is a close business associate of Stephen Payne, the lobbyist caught on tape offering access to top administration officials in exchange for donations to the Bush Library.
This is explosive news because Payne's company's entire business model is international influence peddling in exchange for oil and gas leases from politically unstable and dictatorial regimes.
McCain's senior foreign policy and national security adviser, Randy Scheunemann, is listed as a member of Worldwide Strategic Energy's executive team in a pre-prospectus obtained by Majikthise.
This document was circulated to prospective investors in 2007, according to the source who provided the document.
Payne is the president and CEO of WSE. The firm Bracewell Giuliani is prominently listed as WSE's outside strategic and legal counsel. "Among this group are former top officials with FERC as well as former top administrators with state and federal agencies that regulate the public utilities and oil and gas industries," the brochure enthuses.
Another member of the WSE executive team, Major General Lincoln Jones III, is a former president of Enron Power Corporation and a former deputy to Colin Powell.
The document explains WSE's business model. The company is seeking oil and gas leases in "politically complicated" and "often misunderstood" countries.
Geopolitical risks have often caused the hydrocarbon development opportunities in these regions to be overlooked or underdeveloped. Through our strong business and political ties, WSE has the unique ability to navigate the geopolitical spectrum and inherent risks associated with these politically complicated and sometimes misunderstood countries of the world outside of the traditional means of most firms, as well as with the “turbulent suppliers” of oil to the western world including the Persian Gulf and various Latin American nations.
In other words WSE proposes to make these "complicated" countries offers they can't refuse:
By utilizing our strong business and political connections, WSE will be able to capitalize financially by continuing to offer geopolitical and business development assistance to a host government while acquiring leases and lease options. The lease-holding governments will issue the leases and lease options to WSE based on our significant knowledge of both the energy and political worlds. By doing so, the lease-holding government will receive the additional benefit of our strong business and political knowledge in the U.S. and around the world, while at the same time still receive the usual royalties associated with passing on a hydrocarbon field to a developer. This arrangement will be a win/win for the oil lease-holding country, the field developer, and WSE.
Judging by the document, strategic assistance comes in the form of lobbying for the interests of the host country in the USA through subsidiaries like the Caspian Alliance.
The document explains that WSE members have arranged for millions, sometimes billions, of dollars in military and development aid for countries in their sphere of influence.
Scheunemann lobbied for the Caspian Alliance as late as 2006, according to public records. Scheunemann himself was an agent of Georgia until 2006 and his firm, Orion Strategies, still represents Georgia, according to public records.
The document also contains extensive biographical information about each of the well-connected executives, explaining how he can leverage their influence to get developing countries to cough up their oil and gas leases in exchange for favors from WSE's team.
Here's what the brochure has to say about Randy Scheunemann's influence-peddling mojo:
In 2002, Randy Scheunemann founded the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI) to promote freedom for the Iraqi people. He served as pro bono President and Executive Director of CLI until its mission was completed in 2003. During CLI’s operations, Scheunemann recruited more than 50 distinguished individuals to serve on CLI’s Advisory Boards.
Randy Scheunemann is a registered representative of the Government of Georgia in the United States. Accordingly, Mr. Scheunemann has developed a very close relationship with President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and many senior Georgian officials. The WSE team has also begun negotiating possible deals with the Georgian state-run oil company, National Oil Company of Georgia, to assist in the development of Georgia’s hydrocarbon industry.
And perhaps most disturbing of all, the brochure brags about Scheunemann's role in selling the Iraq war:
Some of the team’s strongest relationships are in Iraq. Randy Scheunemann was a key player in the U.S. involvement in the Iraq war through his role as the President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq where he coordinated the White House’s “Outside the Government” public relations campaign on Iraq while administering relationships with key Iraqi leaders in exile. Randy’s work with the then-exiled Iraqis developed close relationships with many elements of the elected Iraqi leadership. The team has also worked very closely with leaders of the Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish parties. Additionally, Stephen Payne has been to Iraq 3 times.
The brochure features a photo of Stephen Payne, Ahmed Chalabi, and Randy Scheunemann. (See above.)
It's not clear whether WSE got the investment capital it was seeking, or whether it was able to move ahead in its stated mission to acquire a half dozen oil and gas leases. It's also unclear whether Scheunemann still consults for WSE, or whether he stepped down when he joined the McCain campaign.
To be continued.
Majikthise exclusive, please credit Lindsay Beyerstein.