Monday, May 19, 2008

McCain Watch: The anti-lobbyist candidate's lobbying campaign staffers quitting in droves

One of the things John McCain most likes to say is that lobbyists are bad. Bad, bad, bad. So it must kind of suck for him to watch this keep happening:
McCain's national finance co-chair resigns

WASHINGTON (AP) — John McCain's national finance co-chairman has stepped down, the latest casualty of a presidential campaign eager to cauterize damage caused by its ties to lobbyists.

Former Texas Rep. Thomas G. Loeffler, one of McCain's key fundraisers, resigned in the wake of a new McCain policy on conflicts of interest that required campaign volunteers to disclose their lobbying connections

"Mr. Loeffler has resigned from his position with the campaign," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said Sunday.

Loeffler, who runs the lobbying shop The Loeffler Group, is the highest profile departure from McCain's inner circle since a summer 2007 shake-up cost McCain his campaign manager and chief strategist.

Among Loeffler's clients is the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., the parent company of plane manufacturer Airbus. Northrop Grumman Corp. and EADS won a lucrative contract to provide air refueling tankers for the Air Force. McCain helped scuttle an earlier contract in 2004 that would have gone to a competitor, Boeing Co.
This seems to be sort of a trend with the McCain campaign:

McCain advisers Doug Goodyear, who was to run the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., and Doug Davenport, a regional campaign director for the Mid-Atlantic states, also resigned this month. Both worked for DCI Group, a consulting firm hired to improve the image of Myanmar's military junta.

When the policy was announced last week, McCain fired energy policy adviser Eric Burgeson, who represents energy companies as a lobbyist.

The campaign also asked Craig Shirley to resign from McCain's Virginia leadership team because he was behind an independent group that has been criticizing Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Obama on the Internet. McCain's new policy also states that no one with a campaign title or position may participate in so-called 527 groups, which can raise unlimited amounts of money for television ads not controlled by campaigns.

I mean, the irony alert is on high. This is what McCain recently said on the campaign trail in New Orleans:
This practice is not only bad in itself, revealing a disregard of the common good. The abuses of lobbying and earmark spending are also symptomatic of even larger problems in Washington, like the broken windows of buildings in a badly governed city. When we attack these abuses with aggressive reform, we are signaling an entirely new attitude, a higher and better standard in how we conduct the people's business.
Dude, you're surrounded by broken windows ....

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