Latest Schaffer Disaster: Kurdish Oil “Profiteering”

UPDATE: from reporter Mike Saccone’s interview with Schaffer on Kurdish oil contracts:

We told you this was coming. As the Grand Junction Sentinel reports, reprinted in today’s Rocky Mountain News:

An oil contract Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer helped negotiate in Iraqi Kurdistan is one of several production deals the U.S. State Department has flagged as problematic for Iraq and its attempts to establish a national oil policy.

The oil contract, finalized in November 2007, allows a subsidiary of Schaffer’s former employer, Denver-based Aspect Energy, to produce oil on a nearly 104-square-mile plot in the Dohuk Governate in northern Iraq.

Schaffer confirmed Wednesday he was one of several Aspect Energy executives who visited Kurdistan in November 2006 and laid the groundwork for the company’s oil deal with the Kurds…

According to a June 23 report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, Aspect Energy’s oil contract and roughly two dozen other similar deals have proven a point of contention between Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

“The (Kurdistan Regional Government) has negotiated an estimated 25 contracts with foreign oil firms, which the Iraqi federal government claims are illegal,” according to the report.

Schaffer said he was unaware the State Department had warned energy firms not to strike oil deals with the Kurdistan Regional Government at the time of his visit…

John Fleming, a spokesman with the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, said the U.S. government has always asked that energy firms conduct business with Iraq’s federal government and not other entities in the country. [Pols emphasis]

“Our policy is to support the national government and its efforts to have national hydrocarbon legislation,” Fleming said.

Documents the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released earlier this month show the U.S. government’s policy on discouraging regional oil deals predated the finalization of Aspect Energy’s contract with the Kurds.

As we discussed late last week, this is another potentially devastating situation for Schaffer, possibly worse than the Abramoff/Marianas scandal–which polls show has already seriously damaged his election prospects. The finalization of an Iraqi petroleum law is viewed by most experts as critical to the stabilization of Iraq, and the story emerging here is about American oil companies–like Schaffer’s–who were more concerned with getting ‘a piece of the action’ than they were with supporting American foreign policy goals in Iraq.

Is there even another former Congressman out there who voted to invade Iraq, then immediately went to work for an oil company pursuing contracts there? We’re not aware of any. That’s bad enough, but the idea that the contracts he pursued could be prolonging the Iraq war instead of helping end it?

Yeah. Devastating.

36 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ClubTwitty says:

    But of course, yours is better.  There is also a diary at Daily Kos.

  2. bartlet says:

    Makes me smile.

  3. ThillyWabbit says:

    Just because Schaffer (apparently) didn’t get the memo and because it was Constitutional in Iraq, that’s supposed to make this OK.

    How about a little bit of judgment from the guy who is a three-term Congressman and already knew he was at least considering running for Senate? It doesn’t take a masters degree from Yorktown University to deduce that signing oil contracts with the Kurds when it’s well-known that one of the conditions of the “surge” succeeding was the signing of a national oil law was a bad idea.

    It doesn’t take even an ounce of smarts to sit back for five minuted and think about the potential consequences of signing an oil contract with the Kurds who are facing total annihilation by the Iranians and the Turks if they fail to unify with the Iraqi government.

    So our military is there fighting and dying to tamp down a smoldering civil war, Bob Schaffer comes along with a can of lighter fluid and squirts it all over the place.

    No wonder Schaffer wants to keeps the troops there indefinitely. Alex Cranberg has an investment to protect.

    • Republican 36 says:

      Again, Mr. Schaffer has gone around the state telling people he has always been a moderate, middle-of-the-road Republican but the story in today’s Denver Post about his serving on the board of Yorktown University belies his statements this year.

      He served on the board until the May of 2008 when he resigned.  This online university has one course entitled “The Enlightenment as Failed Moral Revolution.”  This is an attack on the Enlightenment itself.  One of the primary purposes of the Enlightenment was to make religious belief a matter of personal conscience and not state policy which it had been in Europe and resulted in the nearly two hundred years of devastating wars between Protestants and Catholics.  Our Founding Fathers believed in that principle and included it in the United States Constitution.  Apparently, the University Mr. Schaffer supported doesn’t believe that and it is trying to pawn off the distorted view that American history supports the notion that government and religion should not be separated.  

      In response to the Post, Mr. Schaffer said Yorktown provides a “classical” education not a conservative one.  For once he got it half right.  It certainly isn’t a true conservative curriculum but it most certainly isn’t a classical one either.  This is another example of Mr. Schaffer’s extremist-radical positions akin to his statements that: “Republicans defend religious freedom. Democrats incinerate religious zealots and their children;” and “Republicans are for a clean environment.  Democrats set big forest fires in New Mexico.”  Anyone who believes in these ideas or makes these kind of statements are not individuals who should be deciding issues of war and peace, energy security or any other pressing issue.  Mr. Schaffer lives in a world that the rest of don’t even recognize.  He isn’t equipped to deal with the real problems confronting the United States.

      • twas brillig says:

        The anti-Enlightenment movement is typically known as “postmodernism,” another conservative bete-noire. LOL

      • Another skeptic says:

        Schaffer’s radicalism is very scary, and so is Mark Udall’s.

        We don’t have much of a choice. We have to vote for one extremist or the other.

        If Obama looks like a winner, you have to vote Schaffer to prevent the abuse of power that we have under Ritter and a powerfully Dem legislature.

        Vote for gridlock.

        • DavidThi808 says:

          You all know I’m no fan of Udall. But he’s world’s better than Bob Schaffer. Udall at his worst is a spineless back-bencher. But he’ll go along with the majority of Democrats. He just won’t be leading them.

          And gridlock is the last thing we need. Bush has so screwed the pooch that we need a very active federal government to start turning things around.

          • ThillyWabbit says:

            Mark Udall has been the leader on energy security. Everything the Democrats (and John McCain) now spout about renewables and conservation they got from Mark Udall.

            Just one example: Mark Udall has been a leader for years on this issue. When he first started authoring bills supporting renewables ten years ago he got laughed out of committee. This year his package of bills passed the House overwhelmingly only to lose in the Senate by one vote (with a 59-vote majority, but it takes 60 votes to kill a Republican filibuster in the Senate).

            He took something with zero support and made it into something with overwhelming support. If that’s not leadership I don’t know what is.

            • DavidThi808 says:

              Because apparently Gore has been stealing Mark’s credit for making this issue one people are demanding action on. He should contact the Nobel committee too.

              Yes Mark has shown some leadership on environmental issues. I’ve never said he would be a non-entity, just that he would be a back-bencher safely in the middle of the crowd. And in this case he has not created the support, he is merely riding a groundswell of support.

            • 6thCDwatcher says:

              He’s going to get laughed at if the employee free choice act gets passed.  That of which would not allow the private ballot system to be in place, nor any union-privacy for the matter.  He’ll take something with 40% support and bring it down to 0.  If that’s not bad leadership I don’t know what is.

  4. Go Blue says:

    yet again Schaffer thinks he can weasel his way out of this by playing dumb:

    Schaffer said he was unaware the State Department had warned energy firms not to strike oil deals with the Kurdistan Regional Government at the time of his visit…

    He gives the same excuse for the Mariana’s, his involvement with Orr, and now this. He’s either a dumb man easily taken advantage of or he’s simply insulting YOUR intelligence.  

  5. Half Glass Full says:

    “Ahhh, f**k it. I give up!”- Dick Wadhams.

  6. ClubTwitty says:

    of Big Oil Bob, Water Grab Walcher, and the Great White Hope…

  7. davebarnes says:

    The average voter on the average voting day could care less about this. It is too complicated.

    Sweatshops and forced abortions are another matter. True or not, great sound bite material.

    Oil contracts. I am asleep already.

    • ThillyWabbit says:

      Schaffer voted for the war, and as soon as the U.S. military made it safe enough he promptly  went to Iraq to profit from that vote. But he didn’t just profit from it, he did it in such a way that it may contribute to extending our commitment there and causing the deaths of more American troops.

      Worse, these oil deals might convince Kurdistan that it would be more profitable to secede from Iraq, further destabilizing the region and inviting Iran and Turkey to get involved.

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