A new website (firethelobbyists.com) has been created by Campaign Money Watch, to convince Senator McCain to fire three lobbyists working on his campaign that have ties to ruthless dictators. You may recall that over the past two days, two McCain aides have resigned because of their willingness to do public relations work for the Burmese Junta.
It turns out that they have friends in low places, however. I contacted David Donnelly, Director of Campaign Money Watch, for a comment, and what he had to say explains what his group is trying to accomplish:
"John McCain ought to immediately fire three lobbyists — Charlie Black, Tom Loeffler, and Peter Madaigan -- whose lobbying for brutal dictators and foreign governments is every bit as bad as the two lobbyists who left his campaign over the weekend. Frankly, McCain's campaign is turning out to be an effort of, by, and for these types of Washington influence peddlers. His credentials as a reformer are gone.", McCain's senior counsel and spokesman, began his lobbying career by representing numerous dictators and repressive regimes:
Black's firm represented the governor of Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos. According to a 1985 report, the firm Black, Manafort & Stone earned $950,000 plus expenses for its work to provide "advice and assistance on matters relating to the media, public relations and public affairs interests."1Thomas Loeffler, co-chairman of McCain's campaign, has represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:
Black's firm lobbied on behalf of Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire, earning $1 million a year for his efforts.2
Black's firm lobbied on behalf of Somali dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.3
Black's firm represented Nigerian dictator Ibrahim Babangida, earning at least $1 million for his efforts.4
Black's firm has represented Equatorial Guinea, an oil-rich state "best known for the outlandish brutality of its rulers."5
Black represented Angolan rebel and "classical terrorist" Jonas Savimbi, a job that earned him $600,000.6 "We have to call him Africa's classical terrorist," Makau Mutua, a professor of law and Africa specialist told the New York Times. "In the history of the continent, I think he's unique because of the degree of suffering he caused without showing any remorse."7
In recent years his client list has also included the Iraqi National Congress8, Friends of Blackwater9, and the China National Off-Shore Oil Corp.10
Since 2005, BKSH has received more than $700,000 in fees from foreign entities.11
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia paid the Loeffler Group "a whopping $7.9 million from December 1, 2005, though November 2006 -- the largest fee collected from a foreign government by any lobbying firm in 2006," according to National Journal.12 The Washington Times reported that "Mr. Loeffler's firm has received more than $10 million since 2006 from the Saudi Embassy and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."13 Much of this work was centered on gaining admission for the Kingdom to the World Trade Organization.14Peter Madigan, a leading McCain fundraiser, lobbies on behalf of the king of Dubai:
Since 2005, according to the Washington Times, "the Loeffler Group reported more than $11 million in fees from foreign lobbying clients."15
Madigan has earned upwards of $800,000 to improve the United Arab Emirates' reputation in the face of a class action lawsuit over the enslavement of boy camel jockeys.16You may also remember our story on Charlie Black the other day, regarding his involvement in setting up an anti-Christian ceremony for the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, a man who is not only a felon but in league with Kim Jong-Il of North Korea. Pleasant company to be sure. And it is only the tip of the iceberg. In The Real McCain, I have two chapters outlining McCain's sordid associations. People who make Jeremiah Wright look like a Red Cross worker.
Guest contributor Cliff Schecter is the author of The Real McCain and runs Cliff Schecter's Campaign Silo at Firedoglake.
LABELS: CHARLIE BLACK, BURMA, LOBBYISTS, THOMAS LOEFFLER, PETER MADIGAN, JOHN MCCAIN, MYANMAR, POLITICS, REUTERS, CLIFF SCHECTER, THE REAL MCCAIN