Sunday, May 18, 2008

Democratic National Committee Must Read: McCain Vs. Lobbyists

18 May 2008 18:54 Africa/Lagos


Democratic National Committee Must Read: McCain Vs. Lobbyists

WASHINGTON, May 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Just days after at least four McCain campaign aides resigned, three of whom after news reports revealed that their lobbying groups had worked on behalf of the repressive regime in Myanmar and the energy lobby, a new report shows that McCain's problems with lobbyists are not over. According to Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, McCain's "finance co-chair Tom Loeffler['s] ... lobbying firm has collected nearly $15 million from Saudi Arabia since 2002 and millions more from other foreign and corporate interests." Another McCain aide, finance director Susan Nelson, was paid $ 15,000 a month by Loeffler's firm while she was on the campaign payroll even though "Federal election law prohibits any outside entity from subsidizing the income of campaign workers." Time and again, McCain demonstrates that his calls for higher ethical standards seem not to apply to him and his campaign. The following are excerpts of today's story:

McCain Vs. Lobbyists
Newsweek
By Michael Isikoff
May 26, 2008 Issue

"Stung by the news that two aides once lobbied for the Burmese junta, John McCain last week rolled out a sweeping new conflict-of-interest policy for his campaign, requiring all staffers to fill out questionnaires identifying past or current clients that "could be embarrassing for the senator." Aides say that McCain was furious over the Burma connection (which he learned from a Newsweek story) and was "adamant" about banning campaign workers from serving as foreign agents or getting paid for lobbying work.

"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."
"Another potential problem: Loeffler's firm started paying $15,000 a month last summer to one of its lobbyists, Susan Nelson, after she left to become McCain's full-time finance director, said a source familiar with the arrangement (who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters). Campaign officials were told the payments were "severance" for Nelson and that they ended by November. But in "February or March," Loeffler rehired Nelson as a consultant to "help him with his clients" while she continued on the McCain payroll, according to a campaign official who asked not to be identified talking about personnel matters. Federal election law prohibits any outside entity from subsidizing the income of campaign workers. McCain's officials say they have been assured that Nelson did actual work for Loeffler's lobbying clients -- and that the payments were proper. But after Newsweek posed questions about the matter, they confirmed Loeffler's resignation and the termination of Nelson's consulting contract. (Loeffler and Nelson did not respond to requests for comment.) Also last week, energy adviser Eric Burgeson was ousted."


To read the entire article, click here: http://www.newsweek.com/id/137522

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Source: Democratic National Committee
CONTACT: Stacie Paxton or Michael Czin,

+1-202-286-7654, both forDemocratic National Committee

Web site: http://www.democrats.org/

http://www.newsweek.com/id/137522

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