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Congressman Dennis Kucinich: Privatization of Iraqi Oil—Spoils of War to Bush Ally?

September 19, 2007
8:00 AM

CONTACT: Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Natalie Laber (202) 225-5871 (o);
(202) 365-1040 (c)

Kucinich: Privatization of Iraqi Oil—Spoils of War to Bush Ally?
Hunt Oil Deal Also Appears To Undercut Oil Revenue Sharing Benchmark

WASHINGTON - September 19 - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is seeking answers in the Administration’s involvement in an Iraqi oil deal that appears to benefit a large Republican donor and ally of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

The recent oil deal between the U.S.-based Hunt Oil Company and the Kurdistan Regional Government raises questions, since Hunt Oil, a privately held oil company based in Texas and its founder, Ray Hunt, have close ties to Vice President Cheney and are large donors to President Bush.  The deal also appears to undercut the goal of oil revenue sharing but is predictably consistent with the Administration’s attempt to privatize Iraqi oil assets. Both Hunt Oil Company and Kurdistan are strong allies with the Bush Administration. 

“As I have said for five years, this war is about oil. The Bush Administration desires private control of Iraqi oil, but we have no right to force Iraq to give up their oil. We have no right to set preconditions for Iraq which lead Iraq to giving up control of their oil. The Constitution of Iraq designates that the oil of Iraq is the property of all Iraqi people,” Kucinich said.

Kucinich is calling for a Congressional investigation to determine the role the Administration may have played in the Hunt-Kurdistan deal, the effect the deal could have on the oil revenue sharing plan and the attempt by the Administration to privatize Iraqi oil.

“The Administration has misled Congress and the media into thinking that pending Iraqi oil legislation before Iraq’s Parliament was about the fair distribution of oil revenues,” Kucinich said. “But the Hunt Oil deal with Kurdistan should expose the real intent of that legislation, and that is, promoting a privatization scheme.

“It is hard to imagine that in Iraq there is any matter more controversial than oil. So long as the U.S. occupies Iraq, there can be nothing more damaging to the United States’ world reputation than the awarding of oil agreements to Bush Administration cronies.”

The Hunt Oil deal with Kurdistan suggests the war has made foreign access to Iraqi oil a reality. The connections between Hunt Oil Company and the Bush Administration are numerous:

•    Mr. Ray Hunt, CEO of Hunt Oil, acted as the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee for President George W. Bush in 2002, led the Republican National Committee’s Victory Fund for President George W. Bush and personally donated $20,000 to the Committee.1
•    Mr. Hunt contributed $100,000 toward inaugural festivities for President George W. Bush in 2001, while Hunt Consolidated contributed $250,000 toward the 2005 Bush presidential inaugural gala.2 
•    Mr. Hunt has also given generously toward construction of the Bush library by securing $35 million in additional property for the endeavor.3
•    President George W. Bush has twice appointed Mr. Hunt to a seat on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which is said to have access to intelligence that experts acknowledge is advantageous to the international energy interest of the Hunt Oil Company.4

“The contract between Hunt Oil and Kurdistan would be the first of its kind in the Middle East where oil has been nationalized for decades and foreign oil companies have had no presence. The lack of consensus on how to manage the Iraqi oil resources suggests that the Hunt Oil Company deal could lead to greater instability within Iraq,” Kucinich said.

In response, Kucinich sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging an immediate investigation into Hunt Oil Company’s recent production sharing agreement for petroleum exploration with Kurdistan.

Kucinich also sent a letter to Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), requesting a full committee hearing to explore Hunt Oil’s ties to the Bush Administration and Halliburton.

Finally, Kucinich will introduce a bill that will prevent U.S. companies from gaining financial interests in Iraq’s oil resources.

Kucinich has consistently spoken out against the hydrocarbon law and the U.S. hydrocarbon law benchmark. Passage of the ‘hydrocarbon law’ by the Iraqi Parliament is one of several of the Administration’s ‘benchmarks’ for the Iraqi government.

“This Administration misled Congress by emphasizing only a small part of this law, the ‘fair’ distribution of oil revenues. Consider the fact that the Iraqi ‘hydrocarbon law’ contains a mere three sentences that generally discuss the ‘fair’ distribution of oil. Except for three scant lines, the entire 33 page ‘hydrocarbon law’ is about creating a complex legal structure to facilitate the privatization of Iraqi oil,” Kucinich said in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on May 10, 2007. 

“The war in Iraq is a stain on American history. Let us not further besmirch our nation by participating in an outrageous exploitation of a nation, which is in shambles due to the U.S. intervention,” Kucinich said in an hour-long speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on May 23, 2007.

1  Peterson, Laura. Public Integrity. “Windfalls of War.” Kellogg, Brown & Root (Halliburton).
Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. “Bush’s 2005 Inauguration Celebration: Brought to You by Corporate America.”
Dallas Observer. “SMU’s Shame: Even People Who Like the President Shouldn’t Want His Library Here.” March 16, 2006.
Bryce. “Top Secret Cronies.” November 5, 2005.


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