WSJ: McCain 'on the defense over ties to lobbyists'
A front page story in Friday's Wall Street Journal examines why Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, is "on the defense over ties to lobbyists."
"For a decade, Randy Scheunemann has been a campaign staffer to John McCain, an ideological ally in the fight to contain Russian power -- and a lobbyist seeking the Arizona senator's support for former Soviet states," Mary Jacoby writes for the Journal. "Their long relationship is typical in Washington, where Sen. McCain has served in Congress since 1983, and it helps illustrate why the Republican presidential candidate is on the defense over ties to lobbyists."
The paper notes that the "lobbying group Mr. Scheunemann founded in 2001, Orion Strategies LLC, has earned $2.6 million from clients for whom Mr. Scheunemann directly lobbied Sen. McCain and his staff, Justice Department records show."
Further excerpts from WSJ article:
In March, as scrutiny intensified, Mr. Scheunemann, who is the campaign's top foreign-policy staffer, sent a letter to the Justice Department's office for foreign-client lobbying registrations saying he had stopped working for clients such as Macedonia and Georgia. However, his company's contracts with those countries, worth a combined $240,000, appear still to be in effect. A spokeswoman for the Georgian Embassy in Washington said the country's contract with Orion is active. The Macedonian contract is listed as active in Justice Department records.
The McCain campaign has been rocked in recent days by forced departures of high-profile advisers after news reports on their past lobbying for controversial clients. The campaign issued a new policy banning all staffers from lobbying, an attempt to help protect Sen. McCain's reputation as a reformer devoted to fighting special interests.
Mr. Scheunemann is "in compliance with the policy," campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said. Mr. Rogers declined to discuss the situation in detail.
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