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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

McCain Campaign -- Loaded with Lobbyists


By Keith R. Schmitz

While listening to the snarky, classless, braying of Sarah Palin talking about John McCain fighting for you and standing up to the special interests, let's take a look at who in fact is serving on the McCain campaign staff. 

As you read through the bio, connect the dots and color in the hypocrisy of the speech.

h/t -- McCain's Lobbyists
Rick Davis

Partner in the lobbying firm Davis Manafort (and Jeffery Dahmer look-alike), currently serves as Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) campaign manager. (He managed McCain's 2000 campaign as well.) A former aide in the Reagan administration and the deputy manager of Sen. Bob Dole's (R-KS) 1996 campaign, Davis' dual role as a political operative and as a lobbyist has caused controversy. During the 2000 campaign, critics noted that two of the companies his firm represented, SBC Communications and Comsat, had controversial mergers pending at the Federal Communications Commission. The Senate Commerce Committee, which McCain chaired at the time, oversees the FCC. Davis tenure as head of the McCain-affiliated Reform Institute, where he solicited tens of thousands of dollars in contributions for the Institute from communications companies, has also come under scrutiny. Davis earned $110,000 a year from the Institute while still serving as McCain top political advisor.[1]

Davis has faced other controversies as well. During the current campaign, rivals accused him of self-dealing, noting that the McCain campaign had hired a company he partly owns, 3eDC, to provide Internet services.[2] Davis did not initially disclose his interest to McCain.[3] Davis also came under fire recently when it was revealed that he had arranged a 2006 meeting between McCain and Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska.[4] Deripaska, critics noted, is not only one of the richest men in Russia and an ally of Vladimir Putin, but has also been linked to organized crime and had his American visa revoked. Nevertheless, Deripaska is not the only shady figure to benefit from close relations with Davis. Davis Manafort has also done political consulting for former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, who had close ties to Putin and was defeated in that country's 2004 Orange Revolution. Other recent lobbying clients include Verizon, GTECH, and Airborne Express.[5]

For a complete look at Rick Davis' lobbying activities, please visit the non-partisan Center For Responsive Politics' money-in-politics database.

[1] Lisa Lerer, "Ex-Reformer McCain Depends on Lobbyists," Politico, July 11, 2007.

[2] Michael Cooper, "Savior or Machiavelli, McCain Aide Carries On," The New York Times, October 23, 2007.

[3] Edward T. Pound, "Troublesome Resumes," U.S. News & World Report, May 28, 2007.

[4] Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and John Solomon, "Aide Helped Controversial Russian Meet McCain," January 25, 2008.

[5] U.S. Secretary of the Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, accessed May 13, 2008.

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