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McCain Campaign Manager's Alleged Russian Mob Ties

Rick Davis' lobbyists ties certainly extend far beyond the telecom industry. ABC News: John McCain's presidential campaign is blasting a New York Ti

Rick Davis' lobbyists ties certainly extend far beyond the telecom industry. ABC News:

John McCain's presidential campaign is blasting a New York Times report suggesting that the candidate may have known since 2005 that his campaign manager's firm worked for a Kremlin-backed politician.

The McCain campaign is strongly denying the paper's reporting that in 2005, a White House National Security Council staffer called John McCain's Senate office to complain that Rick Davis' lobbying firm was "undercutting American policy on Ukraine" by representing a Kremlin-backed politician.

The Bush White House -- and McCain  opposed Yanukovich, whom the United States and others had accused of election fraud, and benefiting from violence and intimidation towards journalists.

McCain's campaign categorically denied that Davis was involved in his firm's work for the Ukranian politician  did not prepare briefings for U.S. officials or lawmakers, did not schedule meetings involving Yanukovich, did not draft talking points, and did not make phone calls on Yanukovich's behalf.[..]

If the account of the NSC staffer's call is true, it suggests McCain should have known about the work by Davis' business -- but installed him as campaign manager anyway. McCain's campaign, which had earlier referred a New York Times reporter to McCain's Senate office, now disputes that such a phone call ever happened.[..]

The story also raises the possibility that Davis' firm may have violated the anti-espionage Foreign Agents Registration Act, by failing to register work for Yanukovich with the U.S. government.

According to Salon, this is not the only campaign personnel with Russian ties:

As president, McCain says he would back up his tough talk with equally aggressive policies. He wants to kick Russia out of the Group of 8, the organization of the world's leading industrial powers. McCain has also long been a proponent of quickly expanding NATO to include former Soviet allies like Georgia. Russia bristles at the notion of the Western military alliance encroaching on her border. "Rather than tolerate Russia's nuclear blackmail or cyber attacks," McCain said in a March speech, "Western nations should make clear that the solidarity of NATO, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, is indivisible."

This kind of talk -- in particular the call to oust Russia from the G-8 -- has given pause to seasoned experts on that part of the world, who tend to emphasize engagement with Russia. McCain's harsh rhetoric and tough proposals led Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria to write an April column titled "McCain's Radical Foreign Policy." If McCain were to pursue his Russia agenda as president, Zakaria wrote, it would be interpreted by much of the world as an "attempt by Washington to begin a new Cold War."
But the sound of sabers rattling is music to the ears of Randy Scheunemann, the McCain campaign's senior foreign policy and national security advisor. A long-term confidant of the candidate, Scheunemann also supports a very tough stance toward Russia. Unlike McCain, until very recently he was paid to support that stance. McCain, already under fire for the role of lobbyists in his campaign, is taking his foreign policy advice from someone who was a paid lobbyist for former Soviet Bloc countries that are wary of Russia, and seems to advocate those policies the countries and their former lobbyist want. Notably, McCain supports a quick expansion of NATO, and Scheunemann has already helped two former Soviet satellites gain admission to NATO and has worked on behalf of two others. Until early this year, Scheunemann was simultaneously working for the McCain campaign and as a lobbyist for a shifting menu of Eastern European and former Soviet Bloc countries with NATO aspirations.

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