A new website (firethelobbyists.com) has been created by the pro-campaign finance reform organization Campaign Money Watch, to convince Senator McCain to fire three lobbyists in the top levels of his organization that have lobbied for ruthless dictators. You may recall that over the past two days, two McCain aides have resigned because of their willingness to do public relations work for the Burmese Junta.
Ahh, working for the public good. It must feel so refreshing.
Of course, turn over any stone in The McCain Campaign, and one can only guess what might come crawling out. It turns out that they have even more friends in low places. I contacted David Donnelly, Director of Campaign Money Watch, for a comment. He explained what his group is trying to accomplish:
John McCain ought to immediately fire three lobbyists — Charlie Black, Tom Loeffler, and Peter Madigan -- whose lobbying for brutal dictators and foreign governments is every bit as bad as the two lobbyists who left his campaign over the weekend. Frankly, McCain’s campaign is turning out to be an effort of, by, and for these types of Washington influence peddlers. His credentials as a reformer are gone.
Pretty strong words. Yet, if you read what this triad of McCain lobbyists have been up to, perhaps not strong enough. It ain't pretty:
Charlie Black, McCain’s senior counsel and spokesman, began his lobbying career by representing numerous dictators and repressive regimes
Black’s firm represented the governor of Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos. According to a 1985 report, the firm Black, Manafort & Stone earned $950,000 plus expenses for its work to provide “advice and assistance on matters relating to the media, public relations and public affairs interests.”1
Black’s firm lobbied on behalf of Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire, earning $1 million a year for his efforts.2
Black’s firm lobbied on behalf of Somali dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.3
Black’s firm represented Nigerian dictator Ibrahim Babangida, earning at least $1 million for his efforts.4
Black’s firm has represented Equatorial Guinea, an oil-rich state “best known for the outlandish brutality of its rulers.”5
Black represented Angolan rebel and “classical terrorist” Jonas Savimbi, a job that earned him $600,000.6 “We have to call him Africa’s classical terrorist,” Makau Mutua, a professor of law and Africa specialist told the New York Times. “In the history of the continent, I think he’s unique because of the degree of suffering he caused without showing any remorse.”7
In recent years his client list has also included the Iraqi National Congress8, Friends of Blackwater9, and the China National Off-Shore Oil Corp.10
Since 2005, BKSH has received more than $700,000 in fees from foreign entities.11
Thomas Loeffler, co-chairman of McCain’s campaign, has represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia paid the Loeffler Group “a whopping $7.9 million from December 1, 2005, though November 2006 -- the largest fee collected from a foreign government by any lobbying firm in 2006,” according to National Journal.12 The Washington Times reported that “Mr. Loeffler's firm has received more than $10 million since 2006 from the Saudi Embassy and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”13 Much of this work was centered on gaining admission for the Kingdom to the World Trade Organization.14
Since 2005, according to the Washington Times, “the Loeffler Group reported more than $11 million in fees from foreign lobbying clients.”15
Peter Madigan, a leading McCain fundraiser, lobbies on behalf of the king of Dubai
Madigan has earned upwards of $800,000 to improve the United Arab Emirates’ reputation in the face of a class action lawsuit over the enslavement of boy camel jockeys.16
You may also remember a story we broke at Cliff Schecter's Campaign Silo at Firedoglake on Charlie Black the other day--via John Gorenfeld's new book Bad Moon Rising--regarding his involvement in setting up an anti-Christian ceremony for the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, a man who is not only a felon but in league with Kim Jong-Il of North Korea.
Pleasant company, to be sure. And it is only the tip of the iceberg. In The Real McCain, I have two chapters outlining McCain's sordid associations with all manner of miscreants that make Jeremiah Wright look like a Red Cross worker.