MSM’s Short Memory: Anybody Remember Roger Tamraz? or, What was left out of Syriana

From the reporting about Jack Abramoff in the MSM, this appears to be the first time money in politics ever had a shady nexus.  With the allusions to Watergate, it appears everyone has forgotten the good old days of selling the Lincoln Bedroom, fundraisers at Buddahist temples and Roger Tamraz.

But for those of us with an internet connection and ability to type a few words into Google, the details of the Clinton’s and the DNC’s selling access in the 1990’s are free for all to see.

It was less then ten years ago when the law and lobbying firm of Greenberg Traurig was in the news for its connections for none other than Roger Tamraz.

Tamraz was a naturalized U.S citizen who had a history of criminal convictions and a warrant for his arrest by Interpol who gave $300,000 to the DNC to gain access to President Clinton to sell his plan for an oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea region.

Tamraz was originally rebuffed by an NSC/Interagency working group who had other pipeline plans and decided to make an end-run around the bureacrats the old fashioned way:  Big Money.

Tamraz gave enough money that then DNC chairman Don Fowler went to bat for him in the policy arena.

“Fowler complained to him over the telephone that “big oil companies were muscling out [Fowler’s] friend here Roger Tamraz, and that he intended to give this guy a fair hearing . . . .” Fowler told Bob that Sheila Heslin “was keeping consideration of Tamraz’s pipeline from being fairly considered or something like that.”

Tamraz also retained Greenberg Traurig to represent him.  Marvin Rosen, DNC Finance Chair 1995-1997, was and still is a member of the firm.  [Greenberg Traurig is back in the news again, but this time regarding Jack Abramoff.]

For $300,000, Tamraz got some quality face time with the President and some ranking staffers to go to bat for him to get around Sheila Heslin, an NSC staffer Fowler felt was in the tank for the big oil companies.

From the Senate Report:

The key to understanding why these officials found the idea
of endorsing Tamraz’s pipeline to be so attractive five months
before the presidential election may lie in Simpson’s
communications to Carter and in Carter’s own subsequent
communication with Heslin. By this point, after all, Heslin was
the principal obstacle that remained for Tamraz. Buying access
to U.S. Government officials had been comparatively easy, but
the interagency working group headed by Heslin remained opposed
to offering the official support Tamraz “desperately
need[ed].” 140 After receiving his instructions
from Simpson, therefore, it was not surprising that Carter
should continue to “follow-up” on the Tamraz issue by
contacting her at the NSC. What is particularly significant
about this contact, however, is the degree to which the two
Energy officials apparently understood this “follow-up” to
revolve around Tamraz’s campaign contributions.”

According to the WaPo, Fowler’s assesment of Heslin was correct.

“By early 1995, the U.S. oil companies operating in Azerbaijan had set up a Foreign Oil Companies group in Washington. It met with National Security Council energy expert Sheila Heslin and later with an interagency committee headed by her boss, Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger.

Government documents show that the NSC and oil companies worked together in June 1995 to forestall an attempt by Lebanese-American oil financier Roger Tamraz to promote his own pipeline from Baku to Turkey, via Armenia. Pennzoil’s Hamilton alerted NSC officials of oil company opposition to the Tamraz initiative, effectively killing any White House support for the project.”

Which brings us to what was left out of Syriana.  The “Bob” that appears in the Senate report is none other than Robert Baer the inspiration for George Clooney’s movie, Syriana.  Bob, for a while, was Tamraz’s CIA handler.  Bob, out of the field at this point, was bored and curious about the politics that dictated the policies he carried out.  [I stongly recommend reading Baer’s book.  I don’t recommend the movie.]

Bob, seeing what Tamraz was doing was curious as to why Heslin was using the CIA to dig up on Tamraz.  Bob conclusion was similar to Fowler’s and the WaPo’s.

“Heslin’s sole job, it seemed, was to carry water for an exclusive club known as the Foreign Oil Companies Group, a cover for a cartel of major petroleum companies doing business in the Caspian.  It was the same cartel that wanted dirt on Tamraz and others.  The group particularly hated Tamraz because he was a lot more agile than they were.

Another thing I learned was that Heslin wasn’t soloing.  Her boss, Deputy National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, headed the interagency committee on Caspian oil policy, which made him in effect the government’s ambassador to the cartel, and Berger wasn’t a disinterested player.  He held $90,000 worth of stock in Amoco, probably the most influential member in the cartel and the one with the greatest reason to be wary of Tamraz.”

Baer goes on to discuss all the Caspian oil money sloshing aroung D.C. through law and lobbying firms and then tosses in this nugget, “Probably the most aggressive was Berger’s old firm, Hogan & Hartson, which put out the word that it could guarantee entree int the White House anytime.” (Pg. 243-244, See No Evil)

In the end, Tamraz didn’t get his pipeline approved by the U.S. government.

In the Senate Hearings into the matter, this line questioning sums it all up:

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: So do you think you got your money’s worth? Do you feel badly about having given the $300,000?

ROGER TAMRAZ: I think next time I’ll give $600,000.

Tamraz’s $300,000 was enough to get the president interested, the Chief of Staff, a few appointees and the Chairman of the DNC intersted, but he was out maneuvered by the Foreign Oil Companies Group, Berger and Heslin.  My guess is that $600,000 would have gotten the job done for Tamraz.

And all of the above comes from just one section of the Senate report about the 1996 elections.

What about Johnny Chung, Yogesh Gandhi, Ted Sioeng, John Huang, The Hsi Lai Temple Fundraiser, Charlie Trie, Ng Lap Seng, Warren Meddoff?  And who can forget the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes?  Obviously the MSM can.
Abramoff is not the biggest scandal since Watergate, it is what happens in D.C. everyday.  And compared to Caspian pipelines, Indian Gaming seems pretty petty.

Advertisements

27 Responses to “MSM’s Short Memory: Anybody Remember Roger Tamraz? or, What was left out of Syriana”

  1. Alan Says:

    Yep, the Dems are sleazy too. But the GOP has a license to sleaze–they’re pro-life. :\

  2. Generation Why? Says:

    Culture of Corruption

    Why do the Democrats seem so intimately familiar with the term? They perfected the culture in the 1990s. Back then the “Abramoff” was Roger Tamraz…

  3. M. Simon Says:

    When politicians control what is bought and sold the first thing bought and sold will be politicians.

  4. thelonggoodbye Says:

    ” The Majority Report also applies a double standard to the
    two political parties when the parties have engaged in similar
    conduct. While Democratic examples are highlighted, comparable
    Republican examples are downplayed or simply ignored. Thus, for
    example, the Majority criticizes the Democratic National
    Committee’s coordination with the Clinton White House, ignoring
    similar coordination by the Republican National Committee with
    the Dole for President campaign and former Republican
    Presidential campaigns.”

    “Thus, throughout the
    Majority’schapter on John Huang at the DNC, the testimony of
    Richard Sullivan is cited and relied upon as an honest recitation of
    the practices and beliefs of all DNC employees during the 1996 election
    cycle. Yet, in the Majority’s chapter on the Teamsters, the Majority
    discredits Sullivan’s testimony. Similar inconsistencies are apparent
    in the Majority’s treatment of Donald Fowler, whose testimony is
    credited and relied upon with respect to his disagreements with Ickes,
    but deemed dishonest in the Majority’s Tamraz chapter.”
    http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1998_rpt/sgo-sir/6-9.htm

    Q: Prior to the time that the newspaper articles appeared
    in the fall of 1996, did you have any reason to believe
    that anybody on the Vice President’s staff had heard that
    there was any fundraising engaged in by Ms. Hsia, by virtue
    of a call from Mr. Huang?
    A: I have no knowledge that anyone did know.
    Q: Did you ever know anything about contributions having
    been collected or monies having been collected prior to the
    April 29th event at the Hsi Lai Temple? There has been
    testimony that a certain amount of money was generated in
    advance of the event.
    A: I had no knowledge of that.
    Q: Do you have any reason to believe that the Vice
    President knew anything relative to this event, either
    prior to the event or that after the event any monies had
    been collected?
    A: I have no reason to believe that he knew anything
    about this.

    Just political trivia at this point, butthe Reagan administration set the record for the most presidentially appointed officials to be indicted by Federal grand juries, over 100 indictments.

  5. Casey Tompkins Says:

    Which leads to the question: and how many convictions resulted out of those 100 indictments? 😉

  6. wrrshiper Says:

    Abramoff’s Indiscretions go back through the 1990’s.

  7. ben franklin Says:

    * Number of Reagan administration era convictions in the Iran-contra scandal: 14 (two overturned on appeal).

    * Number of Reagan officials convicted for illegal lobbying: 2 (Michael Deaver; Lyn Nofziger, overturned on appeal).

    * Number of Reagan officials convicted in Housing and Urban Development scandal: 16.

    * Total number Reagan era convictions: 32

    Over 30 additional Reagan appointees resigned or were fired following charges of legal or ethical misconduct, including Secretary of Interior James Watt, Secretary of Interior Raymond Donovan, CIA Director William Casey and EPA Administrator Anne Burford. Many dozens more were investigated.

    Bush Sr pardons of those indicted and/or convicted of Iran-contra crimes:

    7 (5 had been convicted, one was about to receive his sentence, and one,
    Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger was about to stand trial)

    Giving felons a second chance: Bush Jr.officials appointed to National Security Council who were also indicted of Iran-contra crime,
    who plead guilty, and who were pardoned by Bush Sr: Elliott Abrams

    Bush Jr officials appointed to Department of Defense who were also indicted and convicted of Iran-contra crime but who had convictions set aside on a technicality: 1 John Poindexter see Iran_Contra http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Contra

    HUD scandal, in which politically connected Republicans criminally exploited the same housing assistance programs they routinely denounced as “wasteful.” Billions in EPA Superfund and HUD dollars were indeed wasted because of their corruption.

    Reagan’s HUD Secretary Sam Pierce took the Fifth Amendment when called to testify about the looting of his agency — the first Cabinet official to seek that constitutional protection since the Teapot Dome scandal.

    There are no angels in politics, but some are less corrupt then others. Which Party Is More Corrupt?

    “Republican arrested for corruption” – 431,000 results.

    “Democrat arrested for corruption” – 246,000 results.

  8. Ryan Says:

    Why bother tallying points on the partisan scoreboards here? The important discussion is about creating government that is transaparent, lawful and fair. In so many corruption cases industry interests lobby out of the public’s eyesight without regard to any greater good. How do we turn the lights on and keep these back room deals to a minimum? Certainly a single party controlling of all DC doesn’t help. Nor does a press hobbled by a lack of courage and a lack of access. Nor does a culture-wide sentiment of partisanship that would rather count dem sins vs. rep. transgressions than discuss the real problem. I think this kind of us or them bickering leads down a harmful path.

  9. nk Says:

    Good blog. Keep it up.

  10. JRW Says:

    ““Republican arrested for corruption” – 431,000 results.

    “Democrat arrested for corruption” – 246,000 results. ”

    This can be attributed to the fact that whenever a Republican is “arrested for corruption”, the party affiliation of the arestee is mentioned several times, at least once, in the articles reporting it. But when a Democrat is “arrested for corruption”, 99 percent of the time, no article will mention his party affiliation. Chalk it up to media bias.

    Its become a running joke among the conservative and libertarian websites. Whenever an article is posted about some public official being arrested for some crime, and there is NO mention of the political affiliation, people start making jokes: “Gee, I wonder what party he belongs to? Could it be Democrat?” And of course, 99 percent of the time, it was a Democrat. So it comes as no surprise that when one runs a google search on the phrases “Democrat arrested for corruption” and “Republican arrested for corruption”, one will come up with as larger number of hits on the Republican.

    ___________________

    * Number of Reagan administration era convictions in the Iran-contra scandal: 14 (two overturned on appeal).

    * Number of Reagan officials convicted for illegal lobbying: 2 (Michael Deaver; Lyn Nofziger, overturned on appeal).

    * Number of Reagan officials convicted in Housing and Urban Development scandal: 16.

    * Total number Reagan era convictions: 32

    Over 30 additional Reagan appointees resigned or were fired following charges of legal or ethical misconduct, including Secretary of Interior James Watt, Secretary of Interior Raymond Donovan, CIA Director William Casey and EPA Administrator Anne Burford. Many dozens more were investigated.

    Bush Sr pardons of those indicted and/or convicted of Iran-contra crimes:

    7 (5 had been convicted, one was about to receive his sentence, and one,
    Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger was about to stand trial)

    ___________________________________________

    Okey doke. You want to play that game?

    RECORDS SET

    – The only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance
    – Most number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates*
    – Most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation
    – Most number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify
    – Most number of witnesses to die suddenly
    – First president sued for sexual harassment.
    – First president accused of rape.
    – First first lady to come under criminal investigation
    – Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case
    – First president to establish a legal defense fund.
    – First president to be held in contempt of court
    – Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions
    – Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad
    – First president disbarred from the US Supreme Court and a state court

    * According to our best information, 40 government officials were indicted or convicted in the wake of Watergate. A reader computes that there was a total of 31 Reagan era convictions, including 14 because of Iran-Contra and 16 in the Department of Housing & Urban Development scandal. 47 individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine were convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes with 33 of these occurring during the Clinton administration itself. There were in addition 61 indictments or misdemeanor charges. 14 persons were imprisoned. A key difference between the Clinton story and earlier ones was the number of criminals with whom he was associated before entering the White House.

    Using a far looser standard that included resignations, David R. Simon and D. Stanley Eitzen in Elite Deviance, say that 138 appointees of the Reagan administration either resigned under an ethical cloud or were criminally indicted. Curiously Haynes Johnson uses the same figure but with a different standard in “Sleep-Walking Through History: America in the Reagan Years: “By the end of his term, 138 administration officials had been convicted, had been indicted, or had been the subject of official investigations for official misconduct and/or criminal violations. In terms of number of officials involved, the record of his administration was the worst ever.”

    STARR-RAY INVESTIGATION

    – Number of Starr-Ray investigation convictions or guilty pleas (including one governor, one associate attorney general and two Clinton business partners): 14
    – Number of Clinton Cabinet members who came under criminal investigation: 5
    – Number of Reagan cabinet members who came under criminal investigation: 4
    – Number of top officials jailed in the Teapot Dome Scandal: 3

    CRIME STATS

    – Number of individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine who have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes: 47
    – Number of these convictions during Clinton’s presidency: 33
    – Number of indictments/misdemeanor charges: 61
    – Number of congressional witnesses who have pleaded the Fifth Amendment, fled the country to avoid testifying, or (in the case of foreign witnesses) refused to be interviewed: 122

    SMALTZ INVESTIGATION

    – Guilty pleas and convictions obtained by Donald Smaltz in cases involving charges of bribery and fraud against former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy and associated individuals and businesses: 15
    – Acquitted or overturned cases (including Espy): 6
    – Fines and penalties assessed: $11.5 million
    – Amount Tyson Food paid in fines and court costs: $6 million

    CLINTON MACHINE CRIMES
    FOR WHICH CONVICTIONS
    HAVE BEEN OBTAINED

    Drug trafficking (3), racketeering, extortion, bribery (4), tax evasion, kickbacks, embezzlement (2), fraud (12), conspiracy (5), fraudulent loans, illegal gifts (1), illegal campaign contributions (5), money laundering (6), perjury, obstruction of justice.

    OTHER MATTERS INVESTIGATED BY SPECIAL PROSECUTORS
    AND CONGRESS, OR REPORTED IN THE MEDIA

    Bank and mail fraud, violations of campaign finance laws, illegal foreign campaign funding, improper exports of sensitive technology, physical violence and threats of violence, solicitation of perjury, intimidation of witnesses, bribery of witnesses, attempted intimidation of prosecutors, perjury before congressional committees, lying in statements to federal investigators and regulatory officials, flight of witnesses, obstruction of justice, bribery of cabinet members, real estate fraud, tax fraud, drug trafficking, failure to investigate drug trafficking, bribery of state officials, use of state police for personal purposes, exchange of promotions or benefits for sexual favors, using state police to provide false court testimony, laundering of drug money through a state agency, false reports by medical examiners and others investigating suspicious deaths, the firing of the RTC and FBI director when these agencies were investigating Clinton and his associates, failure to conduct autopsies in suspicious deaths, providing jobs in return for silence by witnesses, drug abuse, improper acquisition and use of 900 FBI files, improper futures trading, murder, sexual abuse of employees, false testimony before a federal judge, shredding of documents, withholding and concealment of subpoenaed documents, fabricated charges against (and improper firing of) White House employees, inviting drug traffickers, foreign agents and participants in organized crime to the White House.

    ARKANSAS ALTZHEIMER’S

    Number of times that Clinton figures who testified in court or before Congress said that they didn’t remember, didn’t know, or something similar.

    Bill Kennedy 116
    Harold Ickes 148
    Ricki Seidman 160
    Bruce Lindsey 161
    Bill Burton 191
    Mark Gearan 221
    Mack McLarty 233
    Neil Egglseston 250
    Hillary Clinton 250
    John Podesta 264
    Jennifer O’Connor 343
    Dwight Holton 348
    Patsy Thomasson 420
    Jeff Eller 697

    FROM THE WASHINGTON TIMES: In the portions of President Clinton’s Jan. 17 deposition that have been made public in the Paula Jones case, his memory failed him 267 times. This is a list of his answers and how many times he gave each one.

    I don’t remember – 71
    I don’t know – 62
    I’m not sure – 17
    I have no idea – 10
    I don’t believe so – 9
    I don’t recall – 8
    I don’t think so – 8
    I don’t have any specific recollection – 6
    I have no recollection – 4
    Not to my knowledge – 4
    I just don’t remember – 4
    I don’t believe – 4
    I have no specific recollection – 3
    I might have – 3
    I don’t have any recollection of that – 2 I don’t have a specific memory – 2
    I don’t have any memory of that – 2
    I just can’t say – 2
    I have no direct knowledge of that – 2
    I don’t have any idea – 2
    Not that I recall – 2
    I don’t believe I did – 2
    I can’t remember – 2
    I can’t say – 2
    I do not remember doing so – 2
    Not that I remember – 2
    I’m not aware – 1
    I honestly don’t know – 1
    I don’t believe that I did – 1
    I’m fairly sure – 1
    I have no other recollection – 1
    I’m not positive – 1
    I certainly don’t think so – 1
    I don’t really remember – 1
    I would have no way of remembering that – 1
    That’s what I believe happened – 1
    To my knowledge, no – 1
    To the best of my knowledge – 1
    To the best of my memory – 1
    I honestly don’t recall – 1
    I honestly don’t remember – 1
    That’s all I know – 1
    I don’t have an independent recollection of that – 1
    I don’t actually have an independent memory of that – 1
    As far as I know – 1
    I don’t believe I ever did that – 1
    That’s all I know about that – 1
    I’m just not sure – 1
    Nothing that I remember – 1
    I simply don’t know – 1
    I would have no idea – 1
    I don’t know anything about that – 1
    I don’t have any direct knowledge of that – 1
    I just don’t know – 1
    I really don’t know – 1
    I can’t deny that, I just — I have no memory of that at all – 1

    http://prorev.com/legacy.htm

  11. Pogo Says:

    You know, with all of the past reportedly illegal activities pertaining to both parties, has there been a more appropriate window in time to make the case for a third party? Does anyone, other than politically connected persons, not believe that our political system, does indeed need a complete overhaul?..?

    Pogo

  12. e turner Says:

    What is happening to the oil in Irag

  13. TexasRainmaker » Blog Archive » Culture of Corruption Says:

    […] Culture of Corruption Why do the Democrats seem so intimately familiar with the term? They perfected the culture in the 1990s. Back then the “Abramoff” was Roger Tamraz (hat tip: XFixer): Tamraz was a naturalized U.S citizen who had a history of criminal convictions and a warrant for his arrest by Interpol who gave $300,000 to the DNC to gain access to President Clinton to sell his plan for an oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea region… Tamraz gave enough money that then DNC chairman Don Fowler went to bat for him in the policy arena. I don’t condone any illegal or unethical actions by a member of any party… but it gets to be humorous when you hear folks on the Left claiming moral superiority when it wasn’t so long ago they were basking in the stench of lobbyists and contributions for favors. What about Johnny Chung, Yogesh Gandhi, Ted Sioeng, John Huang, The Hsi Lai Temple Fundraiser, Charlie Trie, Ng Lap Seng, Warren Meddoff? And who can forget the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes? Obviously the MSM can. Abramoff is not the biggest scandal since Watergate, it is what happens in D.C. everyday. […]

  14. equifax com Says:

    equifax com

    united alive antiredeposition Loyola.pride?Kruse codifies subverting,credit report online http://credit-report-online.credit-report-support.com/

  15. muslin Says:

    […] muslin […]

  16. mazda6 Says:

    mazda6

  17. Fundraising Says:

    *ok, which one of you goofs sent Texas a Canadian Cold front as a gag gift*

  18. discount diet pills Says:

    discount diet pills

    Pugh game augmentation nostril performs

  19. GovRecords Amazing Public Criminal Court and Ancestry Records Says:

    GovRecords Amazing Public Criminal Court and Ancestry Records

    GovRecords Amazing Public Criminal Court and Ancestry Records

  20. ny auto insurance companies Says:

    ny auto insurance companies

    friendships yanks necessities shoal verandas shrank

  21. ultimate bet play chips Says:

    ultimate bet play chips

    terrifies.appealingly?regresses fluctuates

  22. bet blade icewood Says:

    bet blade icewood

    Markham.articulations pimple,diverges knots

  23. online car insurence Says:

    online car insurence…

    nomination exertion excess?identities chief …

  24. casino peru online Says:

    casino peru online…

    injustice friendly?mended romps?hangs parameterized …

  25. Gardner Recall Says:

    The citizens of Gardner, KS are currently working to recall two members of their City Council. The recall is tied up in the courts at the moment, but it should go to a vote in March of 2010.

  26. nikotin Says:

    I have read so many articles or reviews on the topic of the
    blogger lovers but this piece of writing is really
    a nice piece of writing, keep it up.

  27. Ruthanne Belliveau Says:

    I am actually delighted to read this webpage posts which carries tons of valuable information, thanks for providing these kinds of statistics.|

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: