Anti-genocide organizations question Hormats nomination

Anti-genocide groups are now taking action in response to our report on State Department nominee’s Bob Hormats’ suspect ties to Sudan. After the Senate Foreign Relations Committee met last Thursday to discuss a long-range strategy for Sudan, anti-genocide groups decided they had to speak up before Hormats’s nomination hearings begin on Sept. 14.

On Monday, Sam Bell of the Genocide Intervention Network and Eric Cohen of Investors Against Genocide wrote a joint letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee raising key questions about Hormats’s nomination.

The letter states:

While Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, Mr. Hormats gave numerous assurances that safeguards would prevent PetroChina from supporting CNPC’s partnerships with the Sudanese government. However, as detailed in the attached addendum, the two companies are inextricably linked and PetroChina has provided substantial capital support to CNPC. Furthermore, PetroChina and its parent are widely recognized as linked to the genocide and ongoing human rights abuses in Darfur, Sudan, as the Government of Sudan’s principal partners in an industry providing the great majority of its revenue.

In light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Darfur and CNPC/PetroChina’s continued ties to the Government of Sudan through the country’s oil industry, Mr. Hormats should be provided ample opportunity to address his judgment on PetroChina and role in its IPO.

Both ABC News and AFP have picked up on the story. And Fortune contributing editor Marc Gunther posted on his personal blog about it. Gunther rightly questions:

How much due diligence did the Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton do before nominating Hormats? You’d think that misleading people about genocide might be sufficient cause to disqualify an executive, even one with impeccable Goldman ties, from a state department post.

Among the questions Bell and Cohen want the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — led by Senators Kerry and Lugar — to pose to Hormats are:

1. His current view, in contrast to his view at the time of the IPO, of the dangers of investments in PetroChina helping to fund the regime in Khartoum.
2. His willingness, now, to make a clear and public statement recognizing that PetroChina is helping to fund atrocities in Sudan and to admit that his support of the IPO was a mistake.
3. Assistance he provided to PetroChina, allowing it to raise capital in the United States and subsequently help fuel the humanitarian crisis directed by the Government of Sudan.
4. Policies that he now considers would be prudent for financial institutions to adopt, so as to avoid the mistakes he facilitated during PetroChina’s IPO, and to avoid inadvertently connecting ordinary American investors to ongoing and future crimes against humanity and mass atrocities.

We’re anxious to hear Hormats’s answers.

Update: The story’s also been picked up by Business Insider.