website by Campaign Money Watch,
a project of Public Campaign Action Fund
(May 23, 2008 grab)
RELEASE from Campaign Money Watch, a project of Public Campaign Action
John McCain 2008
P.O. Box 16118
Arlington, VA 22215
May 16, 2008
Dear Mr. Davis,
I read with interest the news reports of your campaign’s decision to
vet all the past associations, work, and conflicts of interest of your
staff. As you may know, Campaign Money Watch has been increasingly
concerned about the number of lobbyists working on and raising money
for Sen. John McCain’s presidential bid, the conflicts of interest they
pose, and his retreat from supporting comprehensive reform that cuts
the direct ties between special interests and candidates.
With 115 lobbyists raising money for or staffing your campaign, we
believe that last weekend’s revelations that two staff members of the
campaign promoted the military junta in Myanmar are just the tip of the
iceberg. As you may be aware, Campaign Money Watch has called on three
additional members of the McCain team to resign for similar
representation of regimes with human rights abuses and brutal treatment
of their citizens.
If you are interested in cleaning house at the McCain
campaign, we urge you to start with Charlie Black, Tom Loeffler, and
As you will soon find out when these three fill out their forms,
they have represented unconscionable foreign interests. Mr. Black and
his firm have lobbied for Philippines’s President Ferdinand Marcos,
strongman Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire, Mohamed Siad Barre of Somali,
“rebel terrorist” Jonas Savimbi of Angola, and several other unsavory
foreign clients. Mr. Loeffler and his firm have made approximately $11
million in their contracts representing the Saudi Arabian government.
Mr. Madigan represented the government of the United Arab Emirates in a
class action suit regarding the enslavement of children as camel
You can read more about their past clients and their lobbying work at http://www.firethelobbyists.com
Clearly these types of lobbying clientele reflect poorly on Sen. McCain
and his campaign.
Your vetting process will turn up many more conflicts of interest.
For example, there have been widely reported connections between
several lobbyists who serve as fundraisers and staff for your campaign
and Airbus’s U.S. affiliate when they secured a $35 billion Air Force
contract. Sen. McCain has received more in campaign donations from
executives of this Airbus affiliate, EADS, than any other candidate. In
addition, your own lobbying and public relations work, and that of your
firm, has raised serious questions about conflicts of interest.
We remain concerned about Sen. McCain’s retreat from his previous
support for public financing legislation at the national level. That he
has built a campaign relying on lobbyists to staff it and raise money
for it is a clear signal to us that reforming business-as-usual
politics and the pay-to-play culture in Washington is a very low
priority for the Senator if he is elected. We hope this will change.
We are encouraged that you have begun to correct this appearance
with a thorough review of all those staffing for Sen. McCain’s
campaign. As an immediate step, you ought to immediately remove Messrs.
Black, Loeffler, and Madigan, and extend your review to those you are
depending upon to raise money for the campaign.
May 12, 2008
Reform Watchdog Group
To McCain: Fire The Lobbyists
DC – Campaign Money Watch called on Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today to
fire three Washington lobbyists working on his campaign team whose
lobbying clients include brutal foreign interests and big oil
companies. The demand comes after a weekend that saw key figures in
McCain’s campaign resign for lobbying for Myanmar’s military junta.
The two McCain lobbyists who resigned were just two of at least 10
top McCain aides or fundraisers who have lobbied for foreign
governments, including at least 6 regimes or rulers with a history of
human rights abuses, and at least one rebel leader with a history of
human rights abuses.
“John McCain’s campaign is overrun by lobbyists and the worst
abusers of the pay-to-play campaign finance system,” said David
Donnelly, Campaign Money Watch’s director. “McCain’s reform credentials
are gone. While two lobbyists have left, at least 112 lobbyists who are
raising money for his campaign or staffing it remain. If he wants to
restore his image he ought to take this initial step to fire these
The lobbyists singled out by the reform group are:
• Charlie Black, whose lobbying firm represented
human rights abusers like Philipines President Ferdinand Marcos, Zaire
dictator Mobuto Sese Seko, Somalia’s Mohamed Siad Barre and Nigeria’s
Ibrahim Babangida, as well as foreign oil interests like the Chinese
government’s CNOOC. Black currently serves McCain as a spokesman and
• Tom Loeffler, whose firm has made more than $10
million since 2006 for lobbying for the Saudi Arabian monarchy and oil
interests. Loeffler serves as McCain’s national finance chairman; and
• Peter Madigan, a lobbyist whose firm received
$800,000 to represent the United Arab Emirates in a class action suit
over allegations that boys are enslaved and forced to be camel jockeys.
He is also is a former lobbyist for Shell Oil. Madigan serves as a top
fundraiser for McCain.
The demand to fire the lobbyists comes as McCain gives a speech on
environmental policy today. Oil and gas interests have donated $780,662
in campaign contributions to McCain’s candidate and leadership
committees over his career, according to a Campaign Money Watch
analysis of campaign finance data provided by the nonpartisan Center
for Responsive Politics.
“At a time when America needs to restore its image around the world,
McCain’s reliance on lobbyists who represent human rights abusers is
unconscionable,” continued Donnelly. “Adding insult to injury, while he
makes an environmental speech today, voters ought to look at how he has
been cozying up to big oil lobbyists and donors. That’s why we are
calling on McCain to fire lobbyists Black, Loeffler, and Madigan.”
Campaign Money Watch is a national campaign finance watchdog that
works to hold politicians accountable for opposing comprehensive reform
and doing favors for big money contributors. Campaign Money Watch is a
project of the nonpartisan Public Campaign Action Fund.