Did the McCain campaign give up on its lobbyist ban?
- From: trudogg <independent@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 10:41:05 -0400
[...it's hard to know what to say about McCain, he reverses course so
damned often that being able to say with certainty where he stands on
any issue now, compared to what he's said in the past, is impossible.]
There were a couple of weeks in May that were rather embarrassing for
the McCain campaign. McCain had developed a reputation as a politician
who had little use for high-priced DC lobbyists, but it quickly became
obvious that his entire campaign operation was being run by ?
high-priced DC lobbyists. In one eight-day stretch, McCain had to fire
five lobbyists from key campaign roles because of their lobbying
clients, and the campaign felt compelled to issue new guidelines
prohibiting lobbyists from joining McCain?s paid staff.
With this in mind, this was a curious exchange on CBS News last night.
For those who can?t watch clips online, Katie Couric asked Rick Davis,
ostensibly McCain?s campaign manager, how many lobbyists work at
campaign headquarters. ?We don?t make it a litmus test for employment
at the McCain campaign,? Davis said. ?It goes without saying that some
people who are involved in the lobbying profession do it because they
are interested in that side of the equation. They?re interested in
government, they?re interested in Congress, they?re interested in
When Couric followed up by asking if the McCain campaign considers
lobbyists ?public servants,? Davis responded, ?Well, I didn?t say
that. How do you distinguish someone who lobbies, you know, on behalf
of cancer from someone who lobbies on behalf of an oil interest. I
wouldn?t call them the same thing but they?re still lobbyists.?
Josh Marshall asked, ?[H]ow is this not a reversal of [the McCain
As a matter of fact, it is a reversal.
Just three months ago, the McCain campaign, reeling after a series of
lobbyist-related controversies, took action. Rick Davis, a former
lobbyist, wrote a memo outlining a new campaign policy: ?No person
working for the Campaign may be a registered lobbyist or foreign
agent, or receive compensation for any such activity.?
In fact, the entire policy is online, and it?s language is unambiguous
? if you?re a lobbyist, you can?t work for the campaign. Davis surely
knows this; he wrote and distributed the policy.
And yet, there was Davis last night, effectively telling a national
television audience that the policy he wrote is no longer in effect.
Perhaps some enterprising journalist might want to follow up on this.
I?ll make it easy for the media, by writing the questions for them:
* Why would the McCain campaign prohibit lobbyists from joining the
campaign staff in May, but drop the ban in July?
* What promoted the McCain campaign to reverse the policy? And why did
the campaign keep the change under wraps?
* How many lobbyists do work for McCain right now? (In May, the number
was 134. Has the number gone up or down since then?)
And yes, in case you?re wondering, I?m going to add this to The List.
We?re up to 72.
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