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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Oil Exec Headed for the Hoosegow

Oscar Wyatt, now in his 80s, was also involved in this scandal and is mentioned near the end of this story.

In 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy was the Democratic nominee for president, and Vice President Richard Nixon was the Republican nominee. Under a plan spearheaded by Gov. Ross Barnett, a slate of unpledged electors had the Democratic line on the Mississippi ballot, and Kennedy was listed as an independent. The idea was that, if neither candidate won an electoral vote majority, the unpledged electors would hold the balance of power and would vote for the one who made more concessions on civil rights issues. The unpledged electors did indeed carry Mississippi with a plurality.

Wyatt was an ally of Texas Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, the Democratic vice presidential nominee. As the story goes, there was a plan to bribe the Mississippi electors if their votes were needed. Wyatt was allegedly told to withdraw some cash from his bank, go on election night to a small Houston-area airport, and await instructions to fly to Mississippi. The call never came, as the Kennedy-Johnson ticket carried enough states to win in the Electoral College.

Mississippi's electors wound up voting for Sen. Harry Byrd Sr. of Virginia.

by LARRY NEUMEISTER
The Associated Press | March 7, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — A Texas oil executive was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for approving the payment of millions of dollars in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's Iraq regime so he could secure large oil shipments through a United Nations program.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin also fined David Chalmers $9 million. He sentenced Chalmers' companies, Bayoil USA and the Bahamas-based Bayoil Supply & Trading Ltd., to three years probation.

Chalmers pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Without a deal with prosecutors, he could have faced more than 60 years in prison.

"I didn't think through all the consequences at the time and I'm sorry," he said. "In my heart, I should have known it was wrong."

Chalmers, 54, of Houston told the judge he carried "heavy, heavy guilt."

He said he agreed to begin paying the surcharges after a Baghdad-based representative of his companies told him the Iraqis had demanded it. Chalmers said he was concerned about the safety of the employee and the employee's family.

Operating from 1996 to 2003, the oil-for-food program was designed to let the Iraqi government sell oil primarily to buy food and medicine for its citizens. Sanctions were imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait and brought about the first Gulf War.

By 2000, authorities said, Saddam Hussein had begun insisting that kickbacks...Keep reading>>>

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