As a Senator, John McCain has consistently fought for laws restricting political donations and lobbying by special interests — so his presidential campaign’s ties to lobbyists and special interests strike some observers as curious.
McCain currently has 32 “bundlers” of campaign donations who are lobbyists, more than any other candidate. Rudy Giuliani is closest with 29, and Hillary Clinton has 18.
Among McCain’s occasional advisers is lobbyist John Green of Ogilvy Government Relations. Executive of Ogilvy clients have donated at least $271,000 to the Arizona Republican’s White House campaign, the Washington Post reports.
Another McCain operative is Tom Loeffler, a former Texas congressman who is chairman of the Loeffler Group lobbying firm. The company’s client employees have contributed $118,500, according to the Post.
In March, McCain traveled to a Utah ski resort for J.P. Morgan Chase’s annual leadership conference and mingled with hundreds of top corporate executive.
J.P. Morgan executives have contributed more than $56,000 to McCain’s campaign, two-thirds of it after his Utah appearance.
“It is common for politicians to court big money during a campaign. But private schmooze sessions such as the gathering in Utah pose a particular dilemma for McCain, who has spent a long career decrying ‘special interests’ and politicians who offer special access to them in order to raise money,” the Post observes.
McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis — himself a former lobbyist — defended the campaign’s relationship with major contributors.
“There’s never been anybody who’s done more to rein in special interests and lobbyists than John McCain,” he said.
“If you give to him, you know there’s no quid pro quo. People give to him because they want him to be president of the United States.”
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