John McCain's attempted co-opt of the Obama campaign's change message avoids the fact that McCain has surrounded himself with a campaign staff of top Washington Republican lobbyists:
When McCain huddled with his closest advisers at his rustic Arizona cabin last weekend to map out his presidential campaign, virtually every one was part of the Washington lobbying culture he has long decried. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, co-founded a lobbying firm whose clients have included Verizon and SBC Telecommunications. His chief political adviser, Charles R. Black Jr., is chairman of one of Washington's lobbying powerhouses, BKSH and Associates, which has represented AT&T, Alcoa, JPMorgan and U.S. Airways. Senior advisers Steve Schmidt and Mark McKinnon work for firms that have lobbied for Land O' Lakes, UST Public Affairs, Dell and Fannie Mae.
And this from the Washington Post :
Sen. John McCain's top foreign policy adviser prepped his boss for an April 17 phone call with the president of Georgia and then helped the presumptive Republican presidential nominee prepare a strong statement of support for the fledgling republic. The day of the call, a lobbying firm partly owned by the adviser, Randy Scheunemann, signed a $200,000 contract to continue providing strategic advice to the Georgian government in Washington.
A look at McCain past and present campaign advisers/lobbyists' (partial) client lists:
Charlie Black, chief campaign advisor who stated that another terrorist attack on U.S. soil "certainly it would be a big advantage to him [McCain];" lobbied for Occidental Petroleum, Chevron Texaco, Philip Morris, Thales Group, Yukos Oil, Lockheed Martin, Blackwater, Ferdinand Marcos, Zaire dictator, Mobuto Sese Seko, Angola Rebel, Jonas Savimbi and Iraqi, Ahmad Chalabi.
Rick Davis, campaign manager: Verizon, SBC Communications.
Steve Schmidt, chief campaign strategist and Karl Rove's protege, worked for Dick Cheney and: "Steve Schmidt, the new man in day-to-day charge of the McCain presidential campaign, stoutly defended his lobbying and PR firm's hiring of Tim Griffin, a former prosecutor who figured in the U.S. attorneys firing scandal."
Nancy Pfotenhauer, campaign spokeswoman: Lobbied for Koch Industries
Koch Industries Is The Secret Dirty Energy King. With $90 billion in annual sales, Koch Industries is the largest privately owned company in the United States. Begun in 1940 as an oil refining business by Fred Koch, his company -- now controlled by sons David and Charles Koch -- has diversified into "refining and chemicals; process and pollution control equipment and technologies; minerals and fertilizer; fibers and polymers; commodity and financial trading and services; and forest and consumer products" -- a global warming pollution factory. [Forbes, 2007]
Randy Scheunemann, foreign policy adviser: Lobbied for the Republic of Georgia.
Phil Gramm, past economic adviser (thrown under the bus, then let back in...), sponsored the Enron Loophole legislation, stated: "you've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession," and "We have sort of become a nation of whiners." Frank Donatelli: Lobbied for Exxon Mobil:
Republican presidential nominee John McCain told USA TODAY on Sunday that he has no problem with his top foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann's past lobbying work. [snip] Scheunemann and others at the think tank wrote to President Bush nine days after the 9/11 attacks, urging "a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq." Scheunemann founded a group called the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq during the run-up to the March 2003 invasion.
McCain tapped lobbyist Frank Donatelli to become deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee. The New York Times reported Donatelli will "act as the main liaison between the committee and the McCain campaign." Donatelli is a lobbyist at McGuire Woods and previously served as a lobbyist at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. His clients have included AT&T, Exxon Mobil, PhRMA, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Verizon. [New York Times, 3/7/08]
Kevin Fay, McCain fundraiser, lobbied for "Former Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina was arrested at her Dhaka home and taken to a local court, her party said. It ws not clear on what charges Hasina was detained, but she had faced allegations of extortion and murder charges stemming from political violence last year." [Washington Post, 7/16/07]
Wayne Berman, National Finance Co-Chairman. Chevron Texaco, AIG, the American Petroleum Institute, AmeriChoice, AT&T, the NRA, Reliant Energy, Verizon and Visa.
The list goes on.
As for McCain's new vice presidential pick, foisted on the American people with too little time to thoroughly vet her connections, she doesn't get off clean either. During her gubernatorial run, Palin's campaign ads were paid for by the RGA, the Washington-based Republican Governor's Association, funded, primarily, by Jack Abramoff's firm.
McCain may say he wants to be our Commander in Chief.
Right now, he is his campaign's Chief of Republican Lobbyists.
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