Trent Lott Lobbies for Treaty He Opposed as Senator

By:  Michael Tennant
05/16/2012
       
Trent Lott Lobbies for Treaty He Opposed as Senator

“If you want a UN on steroids, you want the Law of the Sea Treaty,” then-Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) declared in a 2007 news conference. The treaty, Lott explained, “undermines U.S. sovereignty,” “would create a huge UN bureaucracy” to rule the U.S. private sector and military, “would undermine U.S. military and intelligence operations,” and “would be a huge problem in terms of navigational rights.” Five years later, however, the man who once claimed that Senate ratification of LOST would “cede our national sovereignty — both militarily and economically,” is lobbying that very body to approve the treaty.

“If you want a UN on steroids, you want the Law of the Sea Treaty,” then-Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss., photo) declared in a 2007 news conference. The treaty, Lott explained, “undermines U.S. sovereignty,” “would create a huge UN bureaucracy” to rule the U.S. private sector and military, “would undermine U.S. military and intelligence operations,” and “would be a huge problem in terms of navigational rights.”

Lott, then just months away from resigning from the Senate, added that he had fought the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) during his entire 34-year political career. “It was bad law” in the 1980s, he said, “and it is today.”

Five years later, however, the man who once claimed that Senate ratification of LOST would “cede our national sovereignty — both militarily and economically,” is lobbying that very body to approve the treaty. “Despite his previous opposition,” writes Lachlan Markay of the Heritage Foundation, “disclosure forms filed for the first quarter of 2012 … 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.”

What changed Lott’s mind about LOST? The obvious answer is money. Shell Oil Company, which thinks it stands to gain financially from LOST ratification, paid Breaux Lott $80,000 during the first quarter of 2012 to lobby for the treaty. Pike Associates, another lobbying firm, gave Breaux Lott $30,000 to lobby for LOST ratification, at least in part to advance environmental interests. The Pew Charitable Trusts, which hired Pike to lobby for LOST, “pushed hard for the treaty with a campaign headed up by the former head of governmental affairs for the radical environmentalist group Greenpeace,” Markay reports.

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