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It's now up to five lobbyists/staffers dismissed under pressure by the McCain campaign:

Tom Loeffler, the national finance co-chairman for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, resigned yesterday because of his lobbying ties, a campaign adviser said.

He is the fifth person to sever ties with the campaign amid a growing concern over whether lobbyists have too great an influence over the Republican nominee. Last week, campaign manager Rick Davis issued a new policy that requires all campaign personnel to either resign or sever ties with lobbying firms or outside political groups.

"The campaign over the last week or so obviously had a perception problem with regards with this whole business of lobbyists and their work," spokesman Brian Rogers said. "This is really all about setting a policy so that we can just get through that perception problem and the issues that come up with regards to lobbyists affiliated with the campaign and move on."

Riiiiiiight.  The problem, according to the McCain campaign is perception.  But the problem isn't perception.  Instead, it's the same old reality that McCain's candidacy, just like George Bush's, is bought and paid for by the GOP lobbying infrastructure.  

Last week the McCain campaign was forced to distance itself from staff who had lobbied on behalf of the military dictatorship of Burma/Myanmar.  Another had to be let go because he lobbied for the governments of Serbia and Qatar.  A fourth one was removed because he put the McCain campaign in legal danger.  It's illegal for a candidate's campaign and an independent effort running ads against the candidate's opponent to coordinate activities, but this lobbyist was involved with both the McCain campaign and  a 527 independent operation preparing to run ads against Barack Obama.  

Finally, there's Charlie Black, one of McCain's chief strategists.  As MoveOn has documented, Black has a long history of lobbying for foreign thugs and repressive governments.  And as Darksyde showed this morning, he's also good buddies with the radical cleric Sun Myung-Moon:

John Gorenfeld, author of Bad Moon Rising, notes that Black lent his name and in the process decieved several US lawmakers into attending a gruesome spectacle in the Dirksen Senate Office Building a few years ago, where right-wing religious maniac and beloved funding maven of the GOP, cult-leader Sun Myung-moon, was dressed up like King George III and crowned the Savior and Messiah of Mankind. When confronted by Gorenfeld, Black confessed nonchalantly as though it were business as usual.

All of these problems with lobbyists raises two questions.  First, does McCain currently have anyone on his campaign who's not a lobbyist?   And now that the McCain campaign is forcing people to chose between working for him or retaining their lobbying clients, is there anyone who won't take the money?  

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon May 19, 2008 at 10:45 AM PDT.

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