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July 20, 2008

McCain's senior foreign policy advisor tied to global petro-influence peddling

Picture_1 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.

And later:

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.



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Should i say; Corporate manipulation of Politcal strategy. Or mutal intention of control of Energy reserves. Anyway you may look at it, the end result is world instability. North America to stabilize the Energy world? it seems not! The Caspian Basin is the new flash point. " twlight in the desert will usher in the new world depression " very insightful Lindsay. Ralph G. Vancouver Metro

Payne, Chalabi and this guy Scheunemann, who also happens to be tied with McCain, all in one picture. The thought that comes to mind is the same that occurs when hearing about couplings of folks with bizarre and creepy sexual proclivities: how do these people find each other?

People with sexual proclivities that someone like cfrost might find bizarre or creepy often use Craigslist, or commercial sites like or to find each other.

Somehow I don't think that's how Payne, Chalabi, and Scheunemann got together.

Maybe there's a sleazy bar on K Street with a private back room where these deals are, uh, consummated.

Ah, yes, the internets. I recently saw a documentary called "Zoo" about a group of gentlemen with an unusual fondness for horses, who found each other on the web.

Now, if I can just find that K street bar . . .

Nice work Ms. Beyerstein. For some reason, I'm not seeing this on the CNN front page.


I'm shocked! Shocked!, to find there is a senior foreign policy advisor for McCain who is tied to global petro-influence peddling.

Man, do I want to read the guest list of that Cheney Energy Policy meeting.

I bet same names are on there. Or at least 2 degrees removed.

"This is explosive..."

Well, that depends on the definition of "is"...

cool report. a new cycle of a great scandal!!!

In other words WSE proposes to make these "complicated" countries offers they can't refuse

For me, the phrase "an offer he couldn't refuse" evokes the godfather, where the meaning was that failure to accept the offer would result in violent retaliation. I've seen it used since to mean an offer that was so generous it would overcome any misgivings about accepting it. Neither one of these seems to be the sense you are using it, but I can't figure out exactly what you do intend. In what sense is Worldwide Strategic Energy offering potential clients an offer they can't refuse?

WSE is presenting itself as the purveyor of carrots (and possibly sticks) to use on marginal states with petroleum reserves. WSE execs are people who claim to have longterm relationships with the President and the upper echelons of his administration and a willingness to angle for favors.

The prospectus brags about Scheunemann's role in selling the Iraq war. They don't come right out and say that they are prepared to issue threats as well as promises to get what they want.

Yep, a couple minutes googling reveals that Randy Scheunemann is, big surprise, a particularly toxic neocon toad. Exactly the sort of thing that has rightly earned our GOP flyboy candidate the “McSame” sobriquet.

L.B., Is there a pdf copy of the prospectus anywhere?

How about trying to get this on Huffington Post?

Damn good reporting! Congratulations, and keep it up!

Good job but what was Scheunemann's profit in terms of dollars and cents?

Holy crap! Now that's reporting!

Here's my theory. Randy Scheunermann, through either direct or indirect contacts, encouraged Georgia's president Mikheil Saakashvili to take back the renegade provinces of Georgia. He did so knowing that Saakashvili is inexperienced and rash, with the hope that it would provoke a worldwide diplomatic incident with Russia. No doubt Scheunermann assured Saakashvili that the United States would stand firmly behind Georgia, as well as Randy's new boss, John McCain. And that, once elected, McCain would use his power as the President to even greater effect in Georgia's favor. McCain meanwhile can use this incident to bolster his claims and alleged credentials to foreign policy experience. Somebody ought to look into Scheunermann's email and cell phone records. Is there a smoking gun in there somewhere???

Does this really surprise you?

I like the comment above about being SHOCKED haha - expected by everyone really...


imagine that he is linked to oil. This is such a suprise. Wake up and smell the coffee.

i am glad mccain has disappeared. he is a crook.

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