MAY 19, 2008
A top fundraiser and adviser to John McCain became the fifth in just one week to be ousted from the Arizona senator’s presidential campaign over lobbying activities that create a conflict of interest.
The Republican nominee claims to have a strict policy against lobbyists working for his presidential campaign, yet many have been doing just that for months even though they were publicly registered lobbyists who worked on behalf of foreign governments or big corporations.
Evidently, McCain decided to do a little house cleaning this week by getting rid of at least five important aides who moonlight as powerful lobbyists and therefore violate his so-called restrictive conflict of interest policy relating to the scandal-plagued profession.
While four of the ousted aides had substantial positions, the biggest bombshell came today with the resignation of McCain’s national finance co-chairman, Thomas Loeffler. The former Texas congressman was among McCain’s most important advisers and fundraisers but he also runs the Loeffler Group, a lobbying firm that has collected nearly $15 million from Saudi Arabia and millions more from other foreign and corporate interests.
In fact, lobbying disclosure records show that in 2006 Loeffler met with McCain and a Saudi ambassador to discuss U.S.-Kingdom of Saudi Arabia relations. It’s not like McCain just learned the shocking news that his campaign finance co-chair is a lobbyist. Loeffler, who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for George W. Bush and at least a quarter of a million dollars so far for McCain, is a known lobbyist who officially renewed his registration in 2007.
The other lobbyists recently ousted from the campaign are also veterans of the profession. They include Doug Goodyear, McCain’s top liaison to the Republican National Convention, Doug Davenport, regional campaign manager for the Mid-Atlantic States, energy policy adviser Eric Burgeson and prominent Republican consultant Craig Shirley.
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