Lobbyists Gone Wild

When New Mexicans think about John McCain, I’m guessing most have a pretty vague, but favorable opinion about him. I certainly did, primarily because of his efforts on campaign finance reform several years back. But now, under the scrutiny of the Presidential race, I’m beginning to see McCain in a different light because of the ambiguity created by our current campaign financing system.

Media Matters reports that McCain has 24 staffers or advisors that were either registered lobbyists in 2007 or were previous lobbyists, including pretty high up positions such as his campaign manager, his deputy campaign manager and his senior policy advisor.

And his campaign co-chair and national finance committee co-chairman, former US Representative Thomas Loeffler (R-TX) is a lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on trade issues, according to the Houston Chronicle.

As a lobbyist myself for things like public financing and health care reform, I’m not criticizing the hiring of lobbyists. But I wonder if the clients of McCain’s team of lobbyists portend a shifting of the sands under McCain’s formerly sturdy legs. Is McCain revealing his true identity as the front man for pharmaceuticals, oil and gas and insurance companies? Or is he just doing his best to raise money in an insane system? With the current system creating a campaign financing arms race, it’s virtually impossible to tell whether the person or the system is to blame.

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