Al Gore and Tea Pot Dome

By Charles A. Morse
web posted March 20, 2000

As if Al Gore wasn't already sinking in the miasma of eight years of the most corrupt administration in US history, a new potential scandal has reared its head. In the cacophony of Clinton/Gore scandals, this one seems to have slipped under the radar screen. Reminiscent of the Teapot Dome affair, the scandal that tarnished the reputation of President Warren Harding, Gore may become embroiled in an analogous conflict of interest. The affair in question, like Teapot Dome, involves oil, land transfers, and possible gratuities both political and pecuniary.

In 1923, The Teapot Dome affair involved the transfer of the federally administered Teapot Dome oil reserves, set aside for national security, from naval jurisdiction to the Dept. of the Interior. Once Harding's Secretary of the Interior, Albert B. Fall obtained jurisdiction, he proceeded to lease oil rights to Sinclair Oil in exchange for a bribe. Secretary of the Navy, Edwin N. Denby, accepted responsibility for the original transfer and resigned. Fall was eventually convicted for bribery and served time in prison. Harding died in office before the scandal broke and was not directly involved.

In 1995, on Vice President Gore's recommendation, the Clinton Administration sold the federally administered Elk Hills oil reserves to Occidental Petroleum for $3.65 billion. This constituted, according to Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity, "the largest privatization of federal property in US history." At issue is not the sale of federal land to the private sector, where it belongs in most cases, but the appropriateness of selling oil that is kept in reserve for military purposes. Occidental had contributed more than $470,000 to the Democratic Party. This included a check for $100,000 written two days after Occidental chairman, Ray Irani, was a guest in the Lincoln Bedroom. Gore received $35,550 directly. It is worth noting that the left has traditionally accused the Republican Party of being under the influence of big corporations and big oil. Obviously not so in this case.

Gore's relationship with the oil behemoth goes back to his father, Al Gore Sr., who, after a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Occidental, was given a $500,000 per year there after leaving the US Senate. Occidental Chairman Armand Hammer, was quoted as saying that he had Al Sr. "in my back pocket." Occidental purchased mineral rich land near the Gore farm in Tennessee, sold the land to Al Sr, and paid the Gore family $20,000 per year for the mineral rights. The Vice President still collects on this contract although another company now owns it. Gore owns shares in Occidental worth up to $500,000.

Author Edward Jay Epstein, in Dossier-The Secret History of Armand Hammer, documents the longstanding relationship between the Occidental Chairman and every Soviet leader from Lenin to Gorbachev. Hammer's father, Julius Hammer, was one of the founders of the American Communist Party. The book further reveals the fact that Hammer lived in the Soviet Union in the 1920's, financed Soviet espionage in the US, and sold confiscated art for the Soviets at his New York gallery. Make no mistake, Hammer was a Soviet spy and a traitor, no different than Alger Hiss. Hammer's handling of confiscated Soviet art was no different than the way Nazi Field Marshall Goring handled French art confiscated from the Lourve in occupied Paris. Gore's family became rich from their association with Armand Hammer and Occidental Petroleum.

Joseph Farah, editor of World Net Daily, in his article "Gore sensitive about Hammer connection," presents evidence that Gore's middle name is Armand, named after Hammer. Gore has been evasive when asked about his middle name. Perhaps this question should be asked of the presidential candidate until a straight answer emerges. Farah points out that Gore is co-chairman of a Russian-US commission that helps in forming business contacts and public/private initiatives between the two countries. The Russian side is often cut in the same mold as Armand Hammer. Gore continues in his father's footsteps.

This scandal is replete with so many issues that speak to the character and career of Al Gore. Gore grew up in an atmosphere of noblesse oblige. In his case, this background seems to leave him without scruples and a willingness to eschew stated ideals in the quest for power. Gore cares nothing for the environment when his benefactors at Occidental need to close an environmentally damaging oil deal. Gore is accustomed to such deals and expects to benefit from such favors in the form of increased power. Now he's going for the brass ring even as his image makers instruct him in terms of how to dress and appear like a regular working stiff. Of course, Gore is like Clinton in that he genuinely believes that it's impossible for him to be corrupt or deceitful because, after all, he's on the political left. Whatever he does is excused because he's on the right side of history, the side of "progress." Sadly, there are too many Americans, at this point in our history, who agree with him.

Charles A. Morse is a syndicated talk show host on the American Freedom Network and a contributing writer to Enter Stage Right, EtherZone and The Sierra Times.

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