Energy Policy? Check. Foreign Policy? Check.

The USA Today has the news that, like McCain’s energy policy, McCain’s foreign policy was crafted by a lobbyist actively lobbying on those same issues (h/t freepatriot).

John McCain’s top foreign policy adviser lobbied the Arizona senator’s staff on behalf of the republic of Georgia while he was working for the campaign, public records show.

Randy Scheunemann, founder of Orion Strategies, represented the governments of Macedonia, Georgia and Taiwan between 2003 and March 1, according to the firm’s filings with the Justice Department. In its latest semiannual report, the firm disclosed that Scheunemann had a phone conversation in November about Georgia with Richard Fontaine, an aide in McCain’s Senate office.

Orion Strategies earned $540,000 from its foreign clients over the year ending on Dec. 1, reports show. Scheunemann also received $56,250 last year from March to July from McCain, according to campaign finance records.

But wait, it gets better. That lobbying call Scheunemann had about Georgia with McCain’s aide? He had it at a time when Scheunemann was working for free for McCain. Apparently, when he was broke last year (and, appropriately, flying around on the Sugar Momma Express), McCain was compensating his campaign staffers in access.

Given all the discussion of retroactive immunity for FISA, you guys are especially going to love this bit:

Campaign spokesman Jill Hazelbaker said the ethics policy is not retroactive.

That’s what you’d expect out of a campaign managed by a lobbyist who, until March, was lobbying Senators (including McCain?) to pressure them to give telecoms retroactive immunity. But Hazelbaker’s insistence that there is no retroactive ethical fix reinforces my point from yesterday: once your campaign policies have been developed by a bus full of lobbyists, there’s no way to cleanse those policies of ethical taint.

Really, McCain ought to give up this lobbyist disclosure whitewash. We’d all get through detailed discovery of the degree to which lobbyists own McCain’s campaign faster if he would just tell us which of his policies weren’t developed by active lobbyists.

Problem is, I can’t think of a likely policy area where McCain’s campaign isn’t dripping with lobbyists. You think maybe his blog outreach program is free of lobbyist taint?

17 replies
  1. TobyWollin says:

    I repeat what I have said a zillion times here(and I am sure a whole lot of people are tired of reading it..I should just do a linky): These guys would not recognize the truth if it came up and bit them in the nose. If they actually told the truth, no one would believe them now. I’d love it if, like Pinocchio’s nose, every time they told a lie, something would change – like their faces would turn red, or their hair would catch on fire..or ever their noses would grow. But I’m not sure we need that because we all know now that they lie. they lie all…the…time.

  2. ezdidit says:

    McCain is a farce! I have no patience for elitists. Their policies ought to be prosecuted, not entertained. In our society, with the problems we have, it is immoral and reprehensible to be a republican. It isn’t even worth considering, for their policy proposals do not rise to rationality or logic.
    McCain may not be senile, but he has < <u>em>LOST HIS BEARINGS. He could retire & double-dip!

  3. PJEvans says:

    The line I just met:

    Isn’t McCain looking a little tired lately?

    … pass it on.

    He thinks he’s doing what everyone else does … and the lobbyists aren’t going to tell him otherwise; they know they’ll never have as good a position with anyoen else in office.

    • bobschacht says:

      When you have to have lobbyists do everything for you, you are “tired and impotent”.

      Well, y’know, he had to make a Faustian bargain with the devil back in the beginning of the GOP primary season, when he had no money and no traction. And rather than fold up his tent and go home, he sold his brand to the highest bidders.

      Bob in HI

  4. Citizen92 says:

    Is Doug Holtz-Eakin considered a lobbyist? Or is he bonna-fide campaign staff? (I know the distinction is hard!)

    Holtz-Eakin used to be at “The Petersen Institute” but left there as of March. Before that he was the CBO Director.

  5. maryo2 says:

    I think a video showing McCain exiting stages with his lovely wife and showing Obama exiting stages with his lovely wife would be beneficial — to Obama’s campaign. John McCain strands his wife on top of rickety platforms ALL THE TIME. I think many potential McCain voters would be turned off by his lack of chivalry.

  6. JohnLopresti says:

    There has to be a lot of worry on K-st at the generational shift underway, probably part of the McCain candidacy was survival for the ones bailing K-st early; though there is something about his reliance on lobbyists centrally that seems to be a passive way to obtain expertise. I wonder, also, about the lobbying involved in the USAtoday article last week, about how a land transaction with UStaxpayer money McCain shepherded in a way which completed a circuitous route ending with financial gain for a McCain supporter.

  7. JohnJ says:

    I read a long time ago that prison brainwashers used to get a laugh by training their victims to do something like wet their pants on a key word. (The darker side of Behavior Modification).

    I was going to make a darkly snarky suggestion we look up some of McSame’s captors and find what key words they had left in his brain so we could see him wet his pants during a public appearance.

    I’m starting to wonder if some of these lobbycreatures didn’t beat me to it and put the planted conditioning to more serious use.

    I’m sorry to blame the victim, but I would NEVER trust someone who went through what he did to operate heavy equipment, yet alone make decisions affecting the US and the world. Do we really want him in charge of our nuclear arsenal?

      • JohnJ says:

        I was trying to avoid the direct reference…less dismissable; more thought provoking. *g*

        As usual, I was only half kidding. As a kid we played with hypnosis; the implications of what we were able to do scare the hell out of me.

  8. TeddySanFran says:


    There is no part of the McCain campaign that’s free of lobbyist taint, because the entire campaign was resurrected by lobbyists. He needed lobbyists to win the nomination. That convinced McCain he needed them to win the election too.

    Without lobbyists, there is no McCain campaign. If we can get the lobbyists to quit (Fire Charlie Black!) there will be no campaign.

    And we can run against Mitt this fall.

  9. jacqrat says:

    Hey guys – Howie and Jane are DOUBLE-Matching $25 dollar donations to an EXTREMELY important and qualified candidate, Larry Kissell RIGHT NOW now at FDL.

    That means for every $25 the pups offer – it ends up being $75 for Larry. Please consider a donation for Blue America! Thanks.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Okey dokey, thx Jacqrat. Will do.

      But actually I logged in at present b/c when I came onto EW’s, the right side of my screen showed an ad for “Secret History of the American Empire” by John Perkins. I don’t come online to give ‘testimonials’ about ads (book or otherwise), but in this case I’ll make an exception because this book is so good that I’ve given it as gifts. (FWIW, I have zero connection to Perkins or his publisher, and I’m really bummed that I missed Perkins when he was in Seattle recently, because I’d **love** to hear him speak.)

      However, this book is a stunner; it reads like a thriller, and I’m glad to see it highlighted here. I listened to it on CDRom while driving so if you don’t have time to read the book, there is a CD available and it’s well worthwhile.) I’m confident that most EWheelies and FDLers would find it of interest.

      (And any GOPers who happen by would also be wise to pick up a copy of the book, if only to learn a thing or two about why some of us despise what’s happening in terms of corporatist corruption.)

      Jeez, I hope this comment doesn’t get me banned (!)
      However, it’s important to support EW’s advertisers, and I can wholeheartedly recommend this book — check it out the right top side of your browser screen, if the ad is showing in your browser.

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