In 2005, another example of questionable ties between lobbyists and government positions drifted into the fore, raising the eyebrows of some political pundits and government watchdogs: James C. Langdon Jr., Chairman of George W. Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, lobbied William Wicker, a high-ranking executive at Goldman Sachs Asia, in order to secure a major lobbying contract with China National Offshore Oil Company [CNOOC] for his law firm:
Langdon met with CNOOC’s investment banking partner, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., in February, marshalling a long friendship with Beijing-based Goldman executive William Wicker to help win his law firm’s lobbying contract, Akin Gump officials confirmed. They say he recused himself in late March from further involvement in the matter, either for Akin Gump or the PFIAB. (Washington Post, 2005).
Specifically, Langdon was securing a contract to help the state-based CNOOC buy out Unocal, a mid-sized American oil and gasoline company. Well before joining Akin Gump in 1975, Langdon played an active role in many administrative and regulatory bodies of the government, including serving as director of the Office of Commercial Affairs for the Department of Treasury.
In addition to serving as a Goldman Sachs executive, William Wicker previously served as co-head of Credit Suisse USA‘s energy group, an associate of McKinsey & Co; in 2001, he became president of Texaco‘s Global Business Division.
This type of story provides excellent fodder for LittleSis investigation – but more importantly, it demonstrates that there are still plenty of instances of Goldman’s involvement with official government bodies not receiving media attention. Considering that the CNOOC’s bid for Unocal was $18.5 billion, it is no surprise that a superstar team of Bush Administration officials and supporters worked on CNOOC’s campaign:
- Mark Palmer — Managing director of Public Strategies, whose vice chairman is Mark McKinnon, director of President Bush’s media campaign in the 2000 and 2004 elections. Was senior vice president for communications at Enron.
- Steve Lipin — Senior partner of the Brunswick Group. Was the lead mergers and acquisitions reporter for The Wall Street Journal.
- Akin Gump lawyers Alan D. Feld, and Bill Paxon (now a US Representative) have also been major fund-raisers for President Bush.
Let the profiling begin!