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McCain heads to Colombia, where his top strategist has lobbying ties.

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"McCain heads to Colombia, where his top strategist has lobbying ties."

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Later today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will embark on a trip to South America, where he will stop in Cartagena, Colombia to meet with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. But as he prepares to leave, focus is shifting to the long standing business and political ties between the country and McCain’s top strategist, Charlie Black. The New York Times reports today that Black’s firm received more than $1.8 million lobbying for Colombia’s leading gas and oil company:

blackmccainweb.jpgAccording to official filings, Mr. Black, who resigned as chairman of BKSH in March, lobbied Congress, the State Department and the White House on Occidental’s behalf regarding “general energy issues” and “general trade issues” involving Colombia. His list of activities also included winning “foreign assistance for Colombia” and efforts to block an economic embargo against the country, which has a questionable human rights record.

Huffington Post’s Sam Stein reports that other McCain associates, such as fundraiser Peter Madigan, are also tied to the country by their lobbying backgrounds. In total, McCain has 134 lobbyists working on his campaign.

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