USA Today reports that Randy Scheunemann, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) top campaign foreign policy adviser, “lobbied the Arizona senator’s staff on behalf of the republic of Georgia while he was working for the campaign.” The Wonk Room’s Matt Duss adds:
The article notably does not mention one of Scheunemann’s most significant and successful lobbying operations: the invasion of Iraq. Scheunemann served as president of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq [CLI], a neoconservative front group created in 2002. [...]
Part of Scheunemann’s work for the CLI was promoting convicted embezzler and WMD fantasist Ahmad Chalabi as the “new Iraqi Ataturk,” and Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress as a “government in exile.” In a 2003 NewsHour interview, Scheunemann defended Chalabi’s “vision” for Iraq, claiming that Chalabi was opposed for “ideological reasons” by the State Department and the CIA, who, it turns out, were precisely correct about Chalabi’s untrustworthiness.
With lobbyist influence in his campaign gaining more scrutiny, McCain announced a new conflict of interest policy to purge the campaign of “registered lobbyist[s] or foreign agent[s].” While McCain campaign communications director Jill Hazelbaker said “everybody must comply with the policy,” she said today that “the ethics policy is not retroactive” and therefore does not apply to Scheunemann.