Says Obi-John McCainobi: These Aren’t the Lobbyists You’re Looking For
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“Lobbyist” is the dirty word du jour on the presidential campaign trail with candidates railing against “insider lobbyists,” swearing off lobbyist cash, and promising not to get caught in the web of Beltway influence. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), though, is having a tougher time than most distancing himself.
Many of the top staff for McCain’s campaign are lobbyists or former lobbyists, including one Doug Goodyear, with a history of lobbying on behalf of the brutal military regime in Myanmar. Another, Charlie Black, lobbied for dictators in Africa and Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. Should men who advised opponents of democracy advise the man hoping to be our next President? What about Peter Madigan and Tom Loeffler who’ve lobbied for oil interests as well as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Should they help shape the presidency that must deal with sky rocketing oil prices and global warming?
No. It’s time for McCain to live up to his image as a campaign reformer and an opponent of business as usual in Washington, DC. It’s time for him to fire the special interest lobbyists working on his campaign. Public Campaign Action Fund’s Campaign Money Watch project has started a petition campaign asking him to do just that.
Campaign Money Watch Director David Donnelly issued this statement on the petition: “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. 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.” We have also sent a letter to Richard Davis, John McCain’s campaign manager, referencing his stated intention to vet the past associations and potential conflicts of interest of McCain’s campaign staff and ask that he begin these investigations with the lobbyists mentioned above.
It’s hard enough to have a genuine debate on environmental policy or human rights in today’s political climate without lobbyist influence gumming up the works. If McCain wants us to believe he’ll stand up to the special interests in Washington as president, he’d do well by getting them off his own campaign.
New Jersey Funding Question
New Jersey had the second and very successful run of its Clean Elections pilot program in three districts in 2007. Yet despite an enthusiastic response to the program among candidates and voters alike, Gov. Jon Corzine (D) has not included funding for the program in his 2009 budget citing budget constraints.
Clean Elections supporters and editorial boards across the state are trying to convince Corzine – who is a supporter of Clean Elections – to reinstate the funding. They argue it’s far too valuable to sacrifice, and that the program should in fact be expanded to include primaries. One of the compromises that has been suggested is reducing the grants to candidates a bit. While some tweaking may be needed we don’t want to see funding for candidates getting gutted.
The Days Get Longer and the Campaign Hotter
Newspapers are lining up in support of Clean Elections for Alaska in the wake of the campaign kick-off to increase support for the Clean Elections ballot initiative that Alaskans have a chance to vote on in August. Alaskans for Clean Elections are gearing up for a summer of voter education and canvassing on how a Clean Elections program could help combat the rampant corruption that’s all over the news in the state, and get elected officials back to focusing on the needs of their constituents. We’ll be in touch this summer with more that you can do to help support this effort. Let's help the second youngest state in the Union join the Clean Elections family!
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