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Friday
Apr112008

McCain Advisers Tied to Foreign Lobbying

By Jim McElhatton and Jerry Seper / Washington Times

Two of Sen. John McCain's top advisers and fundraisers are among several Republican and Democratic presidential campaign officials whose lobbying firms have been paid more than $15 million by foreign governments since 2005.

The firms of McCain senior adviser Charlie Black, who until recently was the chairman of Washington-based BKSH & Associates, and campaign co-chairman Thomas G. Loeffler, who heads the Loeffler Group in San Antonio, received millions of dollars lobbying the White House, Congress and others as agents of nearly a dozen foreign clients in recent years.

"At no time have I discussed my clients with John McCain, and there have been many occasions where he has voted against my clients' interests, but that doesn't change my belief that John McCain is the best candidate to lead our nation," said Mr. Loeffler, a former Texas congressman, whose firm has received millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia.

The arrangements are legal, and hundreds of lobbyists are registered to work for foreign clients. But experts say conflict-of-interest questions can arise if lobbying and campaign activities overlap.

"I'm not sure it's a good idea that one person plays all these roles," said Toni-Michelle C. Travis, a political analyst and professor of government at George Mason University.

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