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Love Lost

Washington's lobbyist brigade is feeling a little unloved - by Sen. John McCain in particular, who has fired several high-level staffers who are lobbyists because of a new conflict of interest policy. Now, despite the big checks big lobbyists have written him, McCain is keeping his distance. Dear lobbyists, welcome to how the rest of the country experiences the political process: outside, looking in.

There is, as they say, a lot of rage from the lobbyists:

Making This an Issue

The rhetoric's getting a little thick in here but I still feel the urge to click my campaign finance reformer heels together in glee that the issue of lobbyist influence is getting top billing as an issue in the presidential campaign. Sure, since the Beltway was paved candidates have been campaigning on their distance outside of it, but this discussion is getting at a real question: just who is shaping the message and campaign of our next President?

The Purge is Working

John McCain's presidential campaign has dismissed five staff for their lobbying ties after news broke that several staff had lobbied on behalf of foreign dictators and corporate interests and McCain's campaign manager instituted a new conflict of interest policy. Tom Loeffler, McCain's national finance co-chair, became the highest profile person to go when he resigned Sunday.

More in McCain's Lobbyists

The past client lists of the some of the lobbyists working for Senator John McCain's presidential campaign have been getting some attention. Here's another, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

Fire the lobbyists

This weekend, word leaked that Doug Goodyear, the man hired by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to run the GOP convention this summer, had represented the brutal military regime in Myanmar.

One down, over 100 more to go.

Cash of Thorns

There's a thornbush, I'm pretty sure it's the acacia, from which it is impossible to extricate yourself quickly or smoothly. Once you get swallowed by it it's slow, torturous work to get yourself out -- kind of analogous to escaping the snare of lobbyist contributions if you're politician. This article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle chastises for giving in to the siren song of lobbyist money (can the acacia bush produce a siren song?

Donkeys and Elephants, Giving Together

Today's Politico notes the trend among stalwart Republican lobbyists and ex-legislators of giving an increasing amount of money to Democrats as the "price of doing business" with a Democrat-controlled Congress. Among those writing checks across the aisle is lobbyist and ex-Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA), for whom apparent contradiction is the order of day: according to the article his big clients include Northrup Grumman and the Girl Scouts. Now there's a merit badge opportunity.

Back in Black

United Press International has a short piece up on the close relationship between lobbyist Charlie Black and Sen. John McCain. The relationship, which helped solidify McCain's conservative credentials has cast doubt on just how committed McCain is to fighting special interest influence in Washington. Can you claim credentials as an independent with these kinds of insiders shaping your campaign?

Coverage of Letter Drop

Lots of coverage on our efforts yesterday to deliver our letter and all 9,000+ accompanying signatures to Sen. John McCain asking for his support for full public financing for all federal campaigns for office.

Signed, Sealed

Seems Republican lobbyists are closing ranks around Sen. John McCain, hosting an exclusive, high-dollar fundraiser (full article only available to Roll Call subscribers) for him in Washington, DC tomorrow night -- the venue is the Willard Hotel which is a block from the White House and which, rumor has it, was the birthplace of the term "lobbyist." Got your $2,300 ready?