WASHINGTON, DC – Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott has changed his mind about a UN Treaty he adamantly opposed less than six years ago. The difference is that he is now a lobbyist for interests that would benefit from the treaty.
Throughout his time in the Senate, Lott consistently opposed the “U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea”, also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), arguing it would create a “U.N. on steroids” that “would undermine U.S. military operations … and impair navigational rights” by subjecting maritime disputes to U.N. authority.
Lott is lobbying for the Senate to ratify a treaty that, not so long ago, he said would undermine American sovereignty and damage the country economically. At a press conference held in 2007 by fellow Senator Jim DeMint, Lott vigorously denounced the measure.
At that Capitol Hill press conference he said that he had studied the treaty for years, and it would authorize U.S. participation in a “huge new bureaucracy” and that American taxpayers would end up paying 25 percent of the total cost. He noted that, under the provisions, money and resources provided to the treaty organization would be “shared with the rest of the world,” a form of foreign aid.
Speaking to the U.S. Navy’s support of the treaty, Lott said that Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had conceded that one of the treaty’s tribunals could make adverse rulings against the U.S. military. In any event, Lott said, the treaty is “a lot bigger than the military,” a reference to its provisions that cover all kinds of activities on land and sea. He said the alternative to the treaty is “a strong robust Navy” that can protect American interests on the high seas.
But despite his previous disapproval, first quarter of 2012 disclosure forms show that Lott is one of four lobbyists from the Breaux Lott Leadership Group, a subsidiary of lobbying giant Patton Boggs LLP, pushing for Senate ratification of the treaty. Lott is now Senior Counsel for Breaux Lott, which lobbied for LOST on behalf of the Shell Oil Company and Pike Associates, another lobbying firm.
Shell Oil has previously testified in support of LOST ratification, contending it would guarantee the United States’ ability to develop offshore oil resources. According to one of the disclosure forms, Shell paid Breaux Lott $80,000 during the first quarter to lobby on issues including LOST.
Lott also lobbied on behalf of environmental interests. Pike Associates is headed up by Jeffrey Pike, the former Chief of Staff for the House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries and a former member of the Commerce Department’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee under President Clinton.
Pike’s website shows it was recently “selected to manage a multimillion dollar campaign on Senate ratification of the international Law of the Sea Treaty.” Breaux Lott was paid $30,000 to lobby for LOST ratification.
Further disclosures show that Pike has lobbied for LOST on behalf of the Pew Charitable Trusts. Pew has championed the treaty with a campaign headed up by the former head of governmental affairs for the radical environmentalist group Greenpeace.
Kim Holmes of The Heritage Network explored LOST’s deficiencies in a Washington Times column last year. Holmes said the treaty “reflects the 1970s ‘new economic order’ ideology that viewed ocean riches as the ‘common heritage of mankind. Consequently, it establishes a bureaucracy to redistribute the wealth of the deep seabed and the extended continental shelf.”
“Consensus often works against U.S. interests in the U.N. General Assembly,” Holmes added, “and it would do so in this international body. Imagine how a U.N.-like body with a ‘right’ to distribute U.S. revenues would behave.”
Lott had expressed almost the same sentiments during his time in the Senate. “If the Senate ratifies the Law of the Sea Treaty,” he said in 2007, “we will cede our national sovereignty – both militarily and economically.”
It’s amazing how six years and large sums of money can change a person’s mind.
©2012 Off the Grid News