Washington, DC - According to reports, one of John McCain's top economic surrogates-- Republican National Committee Victory Fund Chair Carly Fiorina--was head of Hewlett-Packard at a time when the company was actively working to circumvent export controls established as part of a trade boycott of Iran. This report makes Fiorina the second senior McCain advisor in as many weeks to be linked to companies doing business in Iran. Last week, on the same day Senator McCain called for the "the moral clarity and conviction of civilized nations" to organize "a divestment campaign" aimed at isolating Iran, the Huffington Post reported senior advisor Charlie Black lobbied for a Chinese oil company doing work in Iran. Before that, reports revealed that the lobbying firm co-owned by McCain campaign manager Rick Davis represented Ukrainian companies doing business in Iran.
According to a 2004 article in Forbes, Hewlett-Packard was "among many other U.S. companies" that kept offices in Dubai and were linked to Iranian traders there. As the report noted, "If you want to get around export controls, just sell the product to a front company in Dubai. The middlemen will take it from there." The CEO of Hewlett-Packard at the time was Carly Fiorina. In fact, Fiorina bragged about Hewlett-Packard's success in the Middle East during a 2003 corporate earnings call. [Forbes, 4/19/04; Hewlett Packard Q1 2003 Earnings Conference Call, Fair Disclosure Wire, 2/25/03]
"The fact that John McCain is stocking his campaign with lobbyists and corporate executives who have profited from companies doing business in Iran raises serious questions about his promise to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons," said Democratic National Committee Senior Advisor Matt Dorf. "McCain has consistently taken a 'do as I say, not as I do' approach to the reforms he claims to support, but our nation's security is too important for games like this. If McCain is serious about his call to isolate Iran, he will rid his campaign of any advisors and strategists who worked to circumvent the American government's trade boycott."
John McCain at AIPAC: Divest in Iran. "Years ago, the moral clarity and conviction of civilized nations came together in a divestment campaign against South Africa, helping to rid that nation of the evil of apartheid. In our day, we must use that same power and moral conviction against the regime in Iran, and help to safeguard the people of Israel and the peace of the world." [Remarks to AIPAC conference, 6/2/08]
Forbes: Hewlett Packard Exported Goods To Dubai To Open Up Markets In Iran. In the April 12, 2004 issue a Forbes magazine story entitled, "Trading With The Enemy" reported, "If you want to get around export controls, just sell the product to a front company in Dubai. The middlemen will take it from there... Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Microsoft, among many other U.S. companies, keep Dubai offices and are favorites these days among Iranian traders in Dubai. Reason? Strong demand for 'anything high-tech for military or oil services,' says Bolurfrushan of the Iranian Business Council. [Forbes, 4/12/04]
2003: Fiorina Touted Success In Middle East In The Face Of Falling Domestic Revenue. In a conference call releasing Hewlett Packard's earnings for the first quarter of 2003, CEO Carly Fiorina said, "Our revenue shortfalls were largely confined to the U.S. market, as weak commercial spending continued." She added, "In the Americas, revenue declined 7% sequentially because of weakness in the U.S. and Latin America. Canada, on the other hand, reported solid sequential revenue growth. The strongest performance was in Europe, Middle East, and Africa where revenue was up more than 6% from the previous quarter." [Hewlett Packard Q1 2003 Earnings Conference Call, Fair Disclosure Wire, 2/25/03]
McCain Campaign Manager Rick Davis Represented Ukrainian Companies Doing Business in Iran. "Before Rick Davis began serving as John McCain's campaign manager, his lobbying firm had a pretty cosmopolitan set of clients. For example, Ukranian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, who has several business links to Iran... Davis Manafort was helping Akhmetov's conglomerate, System Capital Management Holdings, to develop a "corporate communications strategy" between the beginning of 2005 through the end of summer 2005, the company said. The company's subsidiary, Metinvest, a steel company, has one of its 11 offices in Tehran. And another subsidiary, Khartsyzsk Pipe Plant, sells large pipes to Iran. Those business ties go back to at least 2005, when Davis Manafort was working for the company, according to a handful of stories in business publications like the Russia & CIS Metals and Mining Weekly and the Mining and the Metals report, which we found on Nexis." [TPM, 5/30/08: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/05/before_ric k_davis_began_servin.php]
Charlie Black's Lobbying Firm Worked For Company Doing Business in Iran. "In the summer of 2005, John McCain's chief strategist Charlie Black, working for his firm Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, was paid $60,000 to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of the Chinese oil conglomerate CNOOC. At the time, CNOOC was mounting an aggressive bid to buy Unocal, a California-based oil giant, and Black was tasked with churning up congressional support. But the bid ultimately fell through, in part because of objections over CNOOC's ties to Iran, a country in which it had already invested tens of millions of dollars… Flash-forward nearly three years and Black's old client -- which later scored a $16 billion deal with the Iranian government -- could now create major headaches for his current boss. On Monday, McCain, in a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, called for a broad and aggressive international campaign to divest from Iran." [Huffington Post, 6/2/08]