Monday, May 12, 2008

Reform Watchdog Group to McCain: Fire the Lobbyists

12 May 2008 17:20 Africa/Lagos


Reform Watchdog Group to McCain: Fire the Lobbyists

National campaign finance reform group calls on McCain to fire Charlie Black, Tom Loeffler and Peter Madigan, three top lobbyists connected to human rights abusers

WASHINGTON, May 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Campaign Money Watch called on Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today to fire three Washington lobbyists working on his campaign team whose lobbying clients include brutal foreign interests and big oil companies. The demand comes after a weekend that saw key figures in McCain's campaign resign for lobbying for Myanmar's military junta.


The two McCain lobbyists who resigned were just two of at least 10 top McCain aides or fundraisers who have lobbied for foreign governments, including at least 6 regimes or rulers with a history of human rights abuses, and at least one rebel leader with a history of human rights abuses.


"John McCain's campaign is overrun by lobbyists and the worst abusers of the pay-to-play campaign finance system," said David Donnelly, Campaign Money Watch's director. "McCain's reform credentials are gone. While two lobbyists have left, at least 112 lobbyists who are raising money for his campaign or staffing it remain. If he wants to restore his image he ought to take this initial step to fire these lobbyists today."


The lobbyists singled out by the reform group are:

-- Charlie Black, whose lobbying firm represented human rights abusers
like Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, Zaire dictator Mobuto
Sese Seko, Somalia's Mohamed Siad Barre and Nigeria's Ibrahim
Babangida, as well as foreign oil interests like the Chinese
government's CNOOC. Black currently serves McCain as a spokesman and
senior counsel;
-- Tom Loeffler, whose firm has made more than $10 million since 2006 for
lobbying for the Saudi Arabian monarchy and oil interests. Loeffler
serves as McCain's national finance chairman; and
-- Peter Madigan, a lobbyist whose firm received $800,000 to represent
the United Arab Emirates in a class action suit over allegations that
boys are enslaved and forced to be camel jockeys. He is also is a
former lobbyist for Shell Oil. Madigan serves as a top fundraiser for
McCain.


The demand to fire the lobbyists comes as McCain gives a speech on environmental policy today. Oil and gas interests have donated $780,662 in campaign contributions to McCain's candidate and leadership committees over his career, according to a Campaign Money Watch analysis of campaign finance data provided by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.


"At a time when America needs to restore its image around the world, McCain's reliance on lobbyists who represent human rights abusers is unconscionable," continued Donnelly. "Adding insult to injury, while he makes an environmental speech today, voters ought to look at how he has been cozying up to big oil lobbyists and donors. That's why we are calling on McCain to fire lobbyists Black, Loeffler, and Madigan."


Campaign Money Watch is a national campaign finance watchdog that works to hold politicians accountable for opposing comprehensive reform and doing favors for big money contributors. Campaign Money Watch is a project of the nonpartisan Public Campaign Action Fund.


Source: Campaign Money Watch

CONTACT: David Miller, Communications Manager, Campaign Money Watch,
+1-202-448-6154

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