Lobbyists influence McCain’s campaign

Agents for big corporations and foreign interests hold key positions

AS VOTERS CONSIDER which presidential candidate will best represent their interests, they may want to examine how lobbyists influence the two campaigns.

From the outset, Sen. Barack Obama has distanced himself from the influence of lobbyists — going so far as to refuse to accept any campaign donations from them. “I couldn’t even buy a bumper sticker from the Obama Web site,” said Bridget Martin, Director of Government Affairs and a registered lobbyist for the Boilermakers.

Sen. John McCain has made no such pledge. He not only takes campaign donations from lobbyists, but he also staffs his campaign with them (more than 100, according to sourcewatch.org). A few of the more notable McCain staffers are:

John Green — His firm lobbied for European Aeronautic Defense & Space, the French company that was awarded a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract that should have gone to the American firm, Boeing.

Phil Gramm — The former Texas senator-turned lobbyist received campaign contributions from Enron while in office — and assisted with favorable energy industry deregulation in return. Enron collapsed in 2002, costing the firm’s employees and investors their pensions and savings. Gramm, who now lobbies for a huge financial firm, was tapped by McCain as an advisor for his 2008 election bid. Gramm made headlines recently for comments that many Americans found insulting. He called America “a nation of whiners” and said the recession was “mental” rather than real.

Charlie Black — His firm lobbied for former dictators Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines and Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire.

The list of lobbyists on McCain’s staff goes on. Big insurance companies, big financial companies, big drug companies, big oil firms, and other enormously rich and powerful interests have a direct connection to the McCain campaign. Labor unions and average Americans do not.

Source: TPM Muckraker

Paid for by the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Campaign Assistance Fund, [phone: (703) 560-1493] and is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.