A major oil corporation, a well-known government contractor and an international communications company have enlisted the Breaux Lott Leadership Group to help secure Senate ratification of a long-stalled sea treaty, according to lobbying registration paperwork the firm filed with Congress on Thursday.
Former senators John Breaux (D-La.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.), senior counsel at the Patton Boggs affiliate, are among the lobbyists advocating for Exxon Mobil Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Level 3 Communications LLC on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which came into force in 1994 and has the support of more than 160 countries. The pact, which contains rules for ocean usage, has faced opposition from conservative Republicans, who have said it would challenge U.S. sovereignty. But the treaty has the support of the Obama administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Representatives of the administration and Chamber joined Lockheed, Level 3 and the American Petroleum Institute, which counts Exxon among its members, at a Pew Charitable Trusts and Atlantic Council forum last month to push for the ratification of the pact. Participants in the forum said the treaty would offer strong legal footing for the undersea cable operations of Level 3, deep sea mineral and metal harvesting activities of Lockheed and offshore drilling of oil companies, according to a transcript of the event.
Exxon, Lockheed and Level 3 aren’t the first Breaux Lott clients interested in Senate ratification of the treaty, according to congressional records. The firm also is also advocating for Shell Oil Co. and government relations shop Pike Associates on the pact. Pew is one of Pike’s clients.
Breaux Lott received $30,000 from Pike to lobby on the pact during the first quarter of this year, while Shell paid the Patton affiliate $80,000 to advocate on the treaty and other issues during that period.
Lott, who opposed the pact when he was in the Senate, has received some heat from conservative think tank Heritage Foundation over his work at Breaux Lott on the treaty. But he told The Daily Caller last month that he “finally concluded that it was time to go ahead and join the Law of the Sea conference,” after reviewing the treaty.
A vote on the pact in the Senate still could take some time. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he doesn’t plan to push for a vote on it until after the November elections.
“We will have extensive hearings. We will do our due diligence. We will prepare for a vote,” Kerry said in remarks prepared for a hearing last month on the treaty. “But unless, somehow, the dynamic were to shift, or change, we will wait until the passions of the election have subsided before we vote.”