Saturday, May 17, 2008

McCain Sheds More Staffers

The connection between McCain and corporate lobbyists is causing his campaign to force people out rather than deal with criticism:

The campaign of Sen. John McCain continued to dismiss staff members this week for violating its new ethics policy, as Democrats ratcheted up pressure on McCain advisers for their lobbying backgrounds.

McCain dismissed two staff members Thursday after unveiling the policy, which prohibits staffers from lobbying, representing a foreign agent or participating in outside political groups. A memo from campaign manager Rick Davis asked aides to disclose previous lobbying ties and to make sure they aren't currently registered as lobbyists or foreign agents.

One staffer, Craig Shirley, was dismissed after the Politico reported that he worked for the attack site Another, Eric Burgeson, left Thursday after it was disclosed that he lobbies the federal government on energy policy.

McCain's campaign created the policy following two other forced departures -- regional campaign manager Doug Davenport and Republican convention chief Doug Goodyear -- for representing the military government in Burma, also known as Myanmar.

McCain has been criticized heavily in the past for his ties to lobbyists:

John McCain's aides confronted a female telecommunications lobbyist in late 1999 and asked her to distance herself from the Arizona senator during the presidential campaign he was about to launch, according to one of McCain's longest-serving political strategists.

John Weaver, who served as McCain's closest confidant until leaving his current campaign last year, said he met with Vicki Iseman at the Center Cafe in Union Station and urged her to stay away from McCain. Association with a lobbyist would undermine his image as an opponent of special interests, aides had concluded.

Members of the senator's small circle of advisers also confronted McCain directly, according to sources, warning him that his continued ties to a lobbyist who had business before the powerful Commerce Committee he chaired threatened to derail his presidential ambitions.

Update/11:20 a.m./Blue Girl

Yesterday the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman was online for a live chat, and was almost immediately exasperated by the number of McCain questions participants were firing at him. Here is the eleventh question and his petulant response:

New York: I hear McCain's top foreign lobbyist advisor Charlie Black (pretty sure he's the one who now conducts his lobbying business from McCain's campaign bus, right?) was on the tube knocking Obama for his willingness to talk to international bad actors. But isn't this the very same Charlie Black who worked on behalf of Ahmad Chalabi (who unless I'm mistaken our government still believes spied on us on behalf of Iran) and then got the contract for creating phony news in Iraq? Anybody ask him about that on that bus ride, do you think?

Jonathan Weisman: Oy, what's with all the McCain questions? Anyone wondering about those Miley Cyrus photos anymore? [emphasis added]

Anyway, Charlie Black's lobbying business has gotten a lot of attention of late, and wil continue to get it as long as he keeps it going.

No, Schmendrick. We never were interested in the Miley Cyrus photos. They have no bearing on the future of the republic. That Weisman doesn't seem able - or willing - to grasp that, is a perfect illustration of what is wrong with our corporate-controlled media. And why blogs are gaining influence.

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