Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is fond of presenting himself as a true enemy of Washington, D.C’s lobbying culture, claiming that he’s “the only one the special interests don’t give any money to.” But as the Washington Post noted yesterday, McCain’s political organization is actually built on the backs of lobbyists who play a central role in his quest for higher office.
Charlie Black, who serves as McCain’s chief political adviser, “is chairman of one of Washington’s lobbying powerhouses, BKSH and Associates, which has represented AT&T, Alcoa, JPMorgan and U.S. Airways.” Though he is currently playing a prominent role in the McCain campaign, Black “is still being paid by his firm.”
On Friday, Black told the National Journal that he doesn’t think his continued lobbying is a problem for the anti-lobbying image of his “client,” John McCain:
Well, it’s perfectly fine as long as I am able to make the distinction between giving advice to McCain and representing clients. It’s the same principle as when you have multiple clients and you handle them all differently. You don’t talk to one client about what you do for the other. In my volunteer role with McCain, I consider him a client.
Some of Black’s other clients currently “have interests before the Senate and, in particular, the Commerce Committee, of which” his “client,” John McCain is a member. As TPM’s Greg Sargent noted yesterday, Black “does a lot of his work by telephone from McCain’s Straight Talk Express bus.”
It’s hard to imagine that Black’s seat on the bus has been bad for business. Firedoglake has more on his lobbying history here.