Lincoln Bedroom Sleepover for Gore Benefactor Surrounded by Questionable Coincidences

By James D. Agresti
September 22, 2000

In March of 1996, the chairman of Occidental Petroleum, an 18 billion dollar oil company, was an overnight guest in the Lincoln bedroom of the White House. Two days after the sleepover, Occidental's Political Action Committee (PAC) gave $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee. In 1997, the Washington Post revealed that the Clinton administration created an exception to a law that stood in the way of a business venture that Occidental wanted to pursue in the country of Sudan. Further investigation has uncovered additional information on this matter.


The Anti-Terrorism Law, Lincoln Bedroom and $100,000

In 1996, Congress passed and Bill Clinton signed what became Public Law 104-132. This law prohibits anyone in the United States from doing business with countries who are classified as state sponsors of terrorism. At the time, Occidental was pursuing an oil exploration deal with the country of Sudan, which is classified as a state sponsor of terrorism.

There was a 6 week period between when Congress passed this legislation and when Bill Clinton signed it into law. It was during this window of time that the chairman of Occidental stayed at the White House and Occidental's PAC gave $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee. In addition to the timing of the sleepover and the donation, a 9 year review of Occidental's political contributions found the amount of this particular donation is unprecedented, doubling the size of any other donation they have made during this period.


Bill Clinton and the Exception

The anti-terrorism law would have put an end to Occidental's plans in Sudan, but it contained a provision allowing the executive branch to make exceptions. The law went into effect during August of 1996. On the same day that the law became operative, the Clinton administration established an exception that allowed U.S. corporations and individuals to do business with Sudan.

Three months after the exception was instituted, the government of Sudan barred Occidental from participating in the oil deal. Sudan did this as a result of a newspaper article that appeared in the Washington Post, which revealed that the Clinton administration was giving military support to three nations who were enemies of the government in Sudan.

After Occidental could no longer profit from the exception, Bill Clinton closed it. Less than a year after Sudan barred Occidental from the oil deal, Bill Clinton issued an executive order containing language that mirrors the provision in the anti-terrorism law that his administration had excepted. In the executive order, Clinton stated that the policies of the government of Sudan were an "extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States," and declared "a national emergency to deal with that threat." Less than a year earlier, the Clinton administration stated that there was "nothing improper" in allowing the oil deal between Occidental and Sudan.


Al Gore and Occidental

In June of 2000, Al Gore said, "It takes somebody who is independent from big oil to take on big oil, and I'm independent from them . . ." At the time when the story about the exception was published, some of Al Gore's extensive financial dealings with Occidental were not widely reported.

In addition to campaign contributions, Occidental has been a benefactor of Al Gore and his father for many years. After Gore's father was defeated for reelection in 1970, Occidental hired him at a salary of $500,000 a year. In 1972, Occidental purchased a farm in Tennessee and promptly sold it to Gore's father, who turned around and resold the farm to Al Gore. Over the next decade, Occidental paid Al Gore $20,000 a year for the rights to mine minerals on this land. The payments added up to more than what Gore bought the land for, and during this entire period, Occidental never did any mining there. Presently, Al Gore is the executor of his father's estate, which contains more than $500,000 worth of stock in Occidental.


Timeline and Links



Congress passes Antiterrorism bill (S. 735, Section 321).


Occidental chairman Ray Irani sleeps over White House.


Occidental's PAC donates unprecedented $100,000 to DNC.


Clinton signs Antiterrorism bill into law (Public Law 104-132).


Anti-terrorism law goes into effect.


Clinton administration Treasury Department creates exception to law, allowing Occidental to pursue oil deal in Sudan.


Sudan bars Occidental from oil deal.


Washington Post story published – Clinton administration says there was nothing improper in allowing Occidental to pursue deal.


Clinton issues Executive Order 13067closing the exception. Calls Sudan an "extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States", and declares "a national emergency to deal with that threat."

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