McCain adviser connected to Bush 'cash for access' scandal
New evidence links McCain adviser Randy Scheunemann with a lobbyist under scrutiny from Congress for offering access to top White House officials in exchange for six-figure donations, The Sunday Times reported.
Stephen Payne, a fundraiser and frequent companion to the president and vice president on foreign trips, was caught accepting a $250,000 donation towards a library for President Bush on condition of political favors during an undercover investigation.
Payne lost his position on the advisory council to the Department of Homeland Security, which has launched an investigation into Payne's actions.
Henry Waxman, chairman of the House of Representatives oversight and government reform committee, has also announced an inquiry into Payne's dealings.
The Times article also suggests that Payne may have used two lobbying firms (he is president of both) to broker a $2 million deal with the Kazakh government to arrange a meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney:
Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Kazakh president, wanted Cheney’s trip to be seen as an endorsement of his regime, which is widely considered to be repressive.
The visit, which took place in May 2006, caused surprise internationally for the lavish praise which Cheney heaped upon Nazarbayev.
Randy Scheunemann, chief foreign policy and national security adviser to John McCain, is part of the executive team for one of the two lobbying firms suspected to be involved.
Payne said Scheunemann had been "working with me on my payroll for five of the last eight years."
The entire Sunday Times article can be found here.