Earlier this week, after a critical New York Times article about McCain campaign manager Rick Davis’s lobbying ties to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Davis told reporters on a conference call that he “had a severed leave of absence from my firm for 18 months.” This claim came into question last night, however, when Newsweek reported that Davis had “remained the treasurer and a corporate director of his lobbying firm” through at least April 1, 2008:
Filings made by “Davis Manafort Partners” with the Virginia Corporation Commission as recently as April 1, 2008, show that Davis was still listed as one of only two corporate officers and directors of the firm, according to records on the commission’s Web site reviewed by NEWSWEEK. That filing records Davis as the “treas/clerk” of the firm; his business partner, Paul Manafort is listed as the president and chief executive officer.
Another filing by “Davis Manafort, Inc.” (with the same Alexandria, Va. address, and recorded on Oct. 17, 2007) also lists Davis as an officer and director of the firm, reporting his position as “T/Clerk,” a reference to his formal title as corporate treasurer and clerk.
The new revelations about Davis’ ongoing relationship with his old lobbying firm appear to create some cognitive dissonance with the campaign’s policy on lobbying.
In May, after two McCain aides were forced to resign over their controversial lobbying ties, Davis issued a memo laying out a new conflict of interest policy for the campaign. Here’s what the policy said about lobbying:
1.) No person working for the Campaign may be a registered lobbyist or foreign agent, or receive compensation for any such activity.
The McCain campaign maintains that Davis “has not taken a salary or received compensation since 2006.” But, as the Washington Post pointed out yesterday, “as an equity partner in the firm, he continues to have an financial stake in its success.” Additionally, Newsweek notes, Davis “stopped short of the steps another senior McCain campaign official, Charlie Black, took to severe his ties to his own well-connected Washington lobbying firm.”
When Davis issued the conflict of interests policy, he made clear that “employees who lie about their affiliations will be fired.” Do Davis’s now debunked denials of a relationship to his old firm amount to a firing offense under his own policy?