Please can we have a waiver?

Oh look, another glaring conflict of interest:

Exxon Mobil is pursuing a waiver from Treasury Department sanctions on Russia to drill in the Black Sea in a venture with Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, a former State Department official said on Wednesday. An oil industry official confirmed the account.

The waiver application was made under the Obama administration, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity, and the company has not dropped the proposal.

Exxon applied for the waiver while Obama was in office, so my goodness what a nice stroke of luck for them that when Obama left office the new guy put the CEO of Exxon in as Secretary of State. How touchingly generous of him!

Of course impartial observers might think the whole thing is rather inappropriate, but what do they know – they’re not Insiders.

The appeal did not come up during Senate confirmation hearings for Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, who was Exxon Mobil’s chief executive before his nomination by President Trump and was known to have a strong working relationship with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

Why? Why did it not come up? It should have come up – that is, someone should have brought it up.

The Exxon Mobil waiver request for the Black Sea was reported Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal.

Asked about the waiver application, Alan Jeffers, an Exxon Mobil spokesman, said, “We don’t comment on ongoing issues.” A Treasury representative said the department would not comment on individual licenses or waiver requests.

In other words, shut up, little people, and go about your business. The Insiders are conducting Insider Dealmaking and it’s not for the peasants to ask questiions.

Hal Eren, a former official in the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said that such waivers were rarely requested or granted and that in most cases such permission was given only for environmental or safety reasons. The Exxon request is particularly unlikely to succeed, he said, because of the narrow nature of the current sanctions.

“I don’t think they would issue a license, especially given the political context in which this takes place,” Mr. Eren said.

But is he taking Trump into account? Is he taking Tillerson into account?

United States and European sanctions were imposed on Russia in March 2014 in response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. Even as the Ukraine crisis deepened, Exxon continued pressing for deeper involvement in Russia’s oil industry.

Shareholders. It’s Their Duty to put shareholders first. Don’t talk to them about Ukraine or Crimea, because SHAREHOLDERS.

As Exxon Mobil’s chief executive, Mr. Tillerson took issue with the initial sanctions, before the tightening in late 2014. At Exxon’s 2014 annual meeting, he said, “We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don’t find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensively, and that’s a very hard thing to do.”

Nonsense. They don’t support them because they’re inconvenient to them (and the shareholders).

Exxon’s waiver request drew criticism Wednesday on several fronts. Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is a fierce critic of Mr. Putin, asked in a Twitter post, “Are they crazy?”

Michael A. McFaul, who was United States ambassador to Russia under Mr. Obama, said on Twitter that if the Trump administration granted a waiver, “then all that tough talk last week about Russia was just that — talk.”

Watch closely.

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