Reporting that John McCain is “urging the administration to add submarines and F-16s aircraft to a $6 billion package of military equipment for Taiwan,” the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler also mentions that top McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann was a lobbyist for Taiwan:
The McCain campaign did not respond to a request for comment on whether Randy Scheunemann, his foreign policy coordinator, had a role in drafting the statement or if he had recused himself. In an e-mail, spokesman Brian Rogers said, “Senator McCain has a long and consistent record of support for Taiwan, including supporting sales of defensive arms to maintain deterrence and stability in the region.”
In 2005, Scheunemann signed the contract between his firm, Orion Strategies LLC, and Taiwan’s Washington office. On June 4 of this year, his partner, Mike Mitchell, signed a renewal of the contract, which calls for quarterly payments of $50,000.
The article doesn’t mention, however, that Scheunemann has also lobbied for Lockheed-Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, which manufactures the F-16s that Scheunemann’s current boss is demanding we give to Taiwan.
In addition to the obvious conflict of interest issues — two of Scheunemann’s lobbying clients stand to benefit in a major way from this arms deal — as with Scheunemann’s lobbying for the government of Georgia, this raises serious questions of how a McCain administration would mediate between China and Taiwan, given the position of authority that Scheunemann would likely occupy in that administration.
UPDATE: Here’s one of Scheunemann’s Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) filings showing that he lobbied McCain on Taiwan’s behalf during the week of June 26, 2005. Scheunemann met with McCain and Deputy Taiwanese Foreign Minister Michael Kau “to discuss US-Taiwan defense cooperation.” Scheunemann also lobbied McCain aides Richard Fontaine and Chris Paal the same week, on the same topic.