One of the big stories with Obama now leading the DNC is that he has announced that not only will his presidential campaign not accept lobbyist donations, neither will the DNC any longer. And while McCain has made some tentative statements about public financing of his campaign, he has yet to commit to anything, other than the sheer number of lobbyists working on his campaign.
The DNC has put out this ad tying McCain to his lobbyists buddies. From the press release:
"While Senator McCain talks about transparency and accountability on the campaign trail, back home in Washington he and the lobbyists in his inner circle refuse to apply those same standards to his own campaign," said DNC Communications Director Karen Finney. "Senator Obama and the Democratic Party have promised to change the way business is done in Washington and are taking real steps to ensure that the American people's priorities dominate the agenda in Washington. If Senator McCain is serious about his call to clean up Washington, he should join us. Otherwise, Senator McCain is once again showing why he is the wrong choice for America's future."
A little fact checking, courtesy of the DNC, on McCain's Lobbyist Brigade below the fold:
JOHN MCCAIN'S LOBBYIST FRIENDS
Anti-Western Political Parties...
- Campaign Manager Rick Davis's Firm Represented Anti-Western Political Party in Ukraine. "A consultant to Sen. John McCain hired a public-relations firm last year to burnish the U.S. image of a Ukrainian political party backed by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, according to documents filed with the Justice Department. The lobbying firm of Davis Manafort Inc. arranged for the public-relations firm's work through an affiliate last spring, at the same time Davis Manafort was being paid by the Republican presidential candidate's campaign. The firm is co-owned by lobbyist Rick Davis, manager of Sen. McCain's presidential campaign, and longtime Republican strategist Paul Manafort." [Wall Street Journal, 5/14/08]
Mob-Connected Russian Oligarchs...
- Davis Introduced McCain to Putin-Ally, Mafia-Linked Russian Oligarch. While seeking to do business with him, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis - while simultaneously at the Reform Institute and lobbying for Davis Manafort - introduced McCain to Oleg Deripaska, a Putin ally whose U.S. visa was revoked due to suspicions over his ties to Russian organized crime. McCain, Deripaska and Davis rendezvoused at least twice - first in January 2006 in Davos, then during a codel in Montenegro in August 2006. [Washington Post, 1/25/08]
The Saudi Royal Family...
- Former Campaign Finance Chair Tom Loeffler Lobbied McCain for Saudi Clients. "But the fallout may not be over. One top campaign official affected by the new policy is national finance co-chair Tom Loeffler, a former Texas congressman whose lobbying firm has collected nearly $15 million from Saudi Arabia since 2002 and millions more from other foreign and corporate interests, including a French aerospace firm seeking Pentagon contracts. Loeffler last month told a reporter 'at no time have I discussed my clients with John McCain.' But lobbying disclosure records reviewed by NEWSWEEK show that on May 17, 2006, Loeffler listed meeting McCain along with the Saudi ambassador to 'discuss US-Kingdom of Saudi Arabia relations.'" [Newsweek, 5/26/08: http://www.newsweek.com/id
Companies doing business in Iran...
- McCain Campaign Manager Rick Davis Represented Ukrainian Companies Doing Business in Iran. "Before Rick Davis began serving as John McCain's campaign manager, his lobbying firm had a pretty cosmopolitan set of clients. For example, Ukranian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, who has several business links to Iran... Davis Manafort was helping Akhmetov's conglomerate, System Capital Management Holdings, to develop a "corporate communications strategy" between the beginging of 2005 through the end of summer 2005, the company said. The company's subsidiary, Metinvest, a steel company, has one of its 11 offices in Tehran. And another subsidiary, Khartsyzsk Pipe Plant, sells large pipes to Iran. Those business ties go back to at least 2005, when Davis Manafort was working for the company, according to a handful of stories in business publications like the Russia & CIS Metals and Mining Weekly and the Mining and the Metals report, which we found on Nexis." [TPM, 5/30/08: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpoin
The Brutal Myanmar Junta...
- Doug Goodyear Left Campaign After Revelations His Firm Represented Myanmar Regime. "The man picked by the John McCain campaign to run the 2008 Republican National Convention resigned Saturday after a report that his lobbying firm used to represent the military regime in Myanmar. Doug Goodyear resigned as coordinator of the Twin Cities convention and issued a two-sentence statement." [Associated Press, 5/11/08]
- Goodyear and Doug Davenport, Regional Campaign Manager, Tied to Oppressive Myanmar Junta. "ABC News' Jan Simmonds reports: Two of Sen. John McCain' campaign aides resigned this weekend after media reports brought to light their ties to a lobbying group that once represented the military junta of Burma, which the regime calls Myanmar. The aides, Douglas Goodyear, who was tapped as the GOP Convention Coordinator, and Doug Davenport, a regional manager focusing on the mid-Atlantic states, both worked for DCI. The firm was hired in 2002 to represent Burma's military junta to try to begin a dialogue of political reconciliation with the United States." [ABCNews.com, 5/11/08]
...and some of history's Most Brutal Tyrants.
- Charlie Black Pioneered the "Revolving Door Between Campaign Consulting and Lobbying." "Then in his 30s, Black already had established himself as a pioneer of the revolving door between campaign consulting and lobbying, having been a senior adviser on President Ronald Reagan's reelection campaign before returning to K Street. And his clients, as often as not, were foreign leaders eager to burnish their reputations...The lobbying shop represented Bethlehem Steel, the Tobacco Institute and the government of the Philippines. The political consulting firm helped elect a slew of lawmakers -- including Sens. Phil Gramm, Jesse Helms, Charles McC. Mathias Jr., Arlen Specter, Paula Hawkins and David F. Durenberger -- who worked on legislation that directly impacted the firm's clients." [Washington Post, 5/22/08]
- "Longtime Uber-Lobbyist" Helped Burnish Reputations of Some of the World's Worst Tyrants." "Longtime uber-lobbyist Charles R. Black Jr. is John McCain's man in Washington, a political maestro who is hoping to guide his friend, the senator from Arizona, to the presidency this November. But for half a decade in the 1980s, Black was also Jonas Savimbi's man in the capital city. His lobbying firm received millions from the brutal Angolan guerrilla leader and took advantage of Black's contacts in Congress and the White House." [Washington Post, 5/22/08]
- Black's Client List a Whose Who of Repressive Rulers. "In addition to Savimbi, Black and his partners were at times registered foreign agents for a remarkable collection of U.S.-backed foreign leaders whose human rights records were sometimes harshly criticized, even as their opposition to communism was embraced by American conservatives. They included Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, Nigerian Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre, and the countries of Kenya and Equatorial Guinea, among others." [Washington Post, 5/22/08]