After a series of disclosures forced the resignation of two McCain campaign aides with ties to unsavory regimes, the campaign has decided to scrutinize the background of the entire staff to ferret out connections to lobbyists.
This morning, according to two Republicans with direct knowledge, Rick Davis, the campaign manager, e-mailed to McCain’s entire staff a memo entitled “McCain Campaign Conflicts Policy” — Effective Today” that includes a questionnaire asking about previous professional activities.
I have a suggestion where they could start- on the Straight Talk Express:
Of all the lobbyists involved in the McCain campaign, the most prominent is Black, who has made a lucrative career of shuttling back and forth between presidential politics and big-time Washington lobbying. He has worked for the campaigns of former congressman Jack Kemp (N.Y.), former president George H.W. Bush and former senators Phil Gramm (Tex.) and Robert J. Dole (Kan.), all Republicans.
“I’ve spent a fair amount of my life as a lobbyist, but I’ve spent a majority of my adult life running Republican political campaigns,” Black, 60, said.
His relationship with McCain, for whom he is a senior adviser, goes back more than two decades, from the time McCain first came to Washington. They got to know each other well during Gramm’s 1996 presidential run; Gramm, now an investment banker, is a major supporter and adviser to McCain.
But even as Black provides a private voice and a public face for McCain, he also leads his lobbying firm, which offers corporate interests and foreign governments the promise of access to the most powerful lawmakers. Some of those companies have interests before the Senate and, in particular, the Commerce Committee, of which McCain is a member.
Black said he does a lot of his work by telephone from McCain’s Straight Talk Express bus.
Just an idea.