Sunday, May 18, 2008

Another wheel comes off the "Straight Talk Express"

Another day, and other departure over lobbying entanglements. (link goes to the Politico so prep yourself for spin if you click over.)

Ya know, for a guy who said his lobbyist connections were different, honorable even, he sure has had to chuck a whole bunch of 'em for conflicts of interest and specious activities, hasn't he?
Former Rep. Thomas G. Loeffler, a Texan who is among the McCain campaign’s most important advisers and fundraisers, has resigned as a national co-chair over lobbying entanglements, a Republican source told Politico on Sunday.

It’s at least the fifth lobbying-related departure from the campaign in a week.

The McCain campaign, already facing the prospect of being badly outgunned in the general election, now also must cope with the disruption of the lobbying shakeout.
After last weeks mini-scandal surrounding Charlie Goodyear and his resignation over conflict of interest for his involvement with a 527, the McCain campaign instituted a "Caesar's Wife" type of policy for campaign staffers and fundraisers as part of a re-vetting effort by the campaign.
“No person working for the Campaign may be a registered lobbyist or foreign agent, or receive compensation for any such activity,” the policy says.

Officials say Loeffler’s resignation shows that McCain and his campaign is going to be serious about enforcing the policy, which was implemented following revelations about the lobbying ties of several campaign officials.

“Everyone will have to become compliant with the policy or they'll have to make a similar choice,” a campaign official said on condition of anonymity. “But we're not going to discuss every person affected.”

The officials who have left include Doug Goodyear, who was McCain’s top liaison to the Republican National Convention; Doug Davenport, regional campaign manager for mid-Atlantic states; Eric Burgeson, an energy policy adviser; and Craig Shirley, a prominent Republican consultant who was a member of McCain’s Virginia Leadership Team.

Loeffler was part of the rescue mission for the campaign last year after its spending badly outstripped its fundraising, leading to a contraction of the campaign that left McCain running a bare-bones operation in the lead-up to his breakout New Hampshire primary victory.

Loeffler’s departure followed a report this weekend by Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff that Loeffler’s “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.”
So I wonder how many staffers will have to depart before McCain realizes he took a stand that places him on the horns of a dilemma?

Personally, I am enjoying watching the stupid unfold and hope the bleeding doesn't stop, because I want McCain to be compromised and despised and lose in a landslide because I think a McCain presidency would threaten the republic. In fact, I hope the campaign stays distracted until June 3 - and if Charlie Black stays in the mix, there is a good chance of that.

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