Huffpost Homepage
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Christy Hardin Smith Headshot

McCain's Cronies: Meet Charlie Black, Political Fixer And Lobbyist

Posted: Updated:

Top DC Lobbyist and McCain campaign "senior advisor" Charlie Black explains to Faux News why John McCain is an "outsider." The jokes just write themselves...

That the McCain campaign is sending out Charlie Black to be their rebuttal point man on the "don't stand so close to me" lobbyist story is beyond amusing.

When you think about Charlie Black, think of him in terms of Jack Abramoff's political reach, connections and influence -- only much, much more so -- with that same odious level of using it to the furthest extent to suck money out of clients who pay-to-play from K Street. Only Charlie Black isn't a dolt like Abramoff, and he hasn't been caught doing anything illegal. Oh, and did I mention he lobbies for Blackwater and AT&T, among many, many other corporate clients?

The founder and current head of BKSH is Charlie Black, whose ties with the Bush family go back to 1972, when he and Karl Rove were jockeying for control of the College Republicans in a campaign so dirty that George H.W. Bush, then head of the Republican National Committee, had to step in and sort matters out. Black then worked for Ronald Reagan's and George H.W. Bush's presidential campaigns from 1976 to 1992. He served as an adviser to George W. Bush's campaigns in 2000 and 2004 and is often quoted in news stories as an unofficial White House spokesman.

BKSH was representing Iraq exile Ahmed Chalabi as early as 1999 and continued doing so until the invasion of Iraq. An international con-man found guilty in absentia in Jordan for bank scams, Chalabi is most widely known for being one of the key pre-Iraq war intelligence propagandists who supplied skewed information to support the Pentagon's ultra-secretive Office of Special Plans and the now-discredited pre-war reporting of Judith Miller for the New York Times. During 2004, Francis Brooke of the Rendon Group, which had represented Chalabi since the early 90's, was working on contract in Baghdad for BKSH. Then in the summer and fall of 2005, Lincoln Group, which had been tasked by the Pentagon with providing pro-US stories to Iraqi media, was subcontracting the work to BKSH, as the same time as BKSH was registered to represent the government of Iraq as its US lobbyist.

Paragon of virtue, that one, isn't he? Not to mention that he helped Jim Baker with the Florida recount doings in 2000. But wait, there's more:

Even before McCain finished his news conference, uber-lobbyist Black made the rounds of television networks to defend McCain against charges that he has been tainted by his relationship with a lobbyist. Black's current clients include General Motors, United Technologies, JPMorgan and AT&T.

Black said he is still being paid by his firm and does work for clients in his "spare time," recusing himself from lobbying McCain: "I not only do not lobby him [McCain], but if an issue comes up that I have a client on, I will tell him that and stay out of the discussion."

Never mind that, as a lawyer, Black knows that he's required to "Chinese wall" himself off from an appearance of impropriety problems like that. I'm sure Black's proximity to GOP presidential candidate McCain doesn't do his clients any good in how he tries to influence other politicians on their behalf, because proximity to power has no value whatsoever inside the Beltway. Uh huh.

Much, much more to come...