John McCain's presidential campaign has dismissed five staff for their lobbying ties after news broke that several staff had lobbied on behalf of foreign dictators and corporate interests and McCain's campaign manager instituted a new conflict of interest policy. Tom Loeffler, McCain's national finance co-chair, became the highest profile person to go when he resigned Sunday. Our "Fire the Lobbyists" petition campaign encouraging McCain to purge his staff of lobbyists has garnered thousands of signatures.
Now what about McCain's spokesman Charlie Black whose firm has lobbied for Ferdinand Marcos, as well as dictators in Zaire, Somalia, and Nigeria? NPR's Peter Overby did a story on McCain's lobbyist problem and quoted our own David Donnelly on the conflicts in question:
David Donnelly, director of Campaign Money Watch, a group that counted 115 lobbyists either working for McCain or raising money for him, sees a big loophole in the new policy. His prime example: Charlie Black, a long-time top-dollar lobbyist who quit his firm to be McCain's senior advisor.
"Black can go back to his firm after this campaign is over," said Donnelly. "He will have an open door at the White House. He will know all the top advisers and he will trade in on those relationships to make a killing."
Is that really who should be providing counsel to the Republican nominee for President? If McCain and his campaign manager Rick Davis are serious about the conflict of interest policy they'll make it applicable from the top down.