DNC: Scheunemann Link Highlights McCain’s Abramoff Problem

2008-08-14 14:35:00

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 /EMWNews/ -- The following was

released by the Democratic National Committee:


    Following reports that scandal-plagued Republican activist Ralph Reed

is raising money for John McCain's campaign, a new report reveals yet

another connection between McCain and the scandal surrounding criminal

lobbyist Jack Abramoff. According to the report, Abramoff's law firm hired

one of McCain's closest campaign advisors to work on their behalf during

McCain's investigation into the scandal. After they "turned to a former

McCain campaign adviser for help," McCain issued a public statement

praising the firm. According to public watchdog groups, Scheunemann's "dual

role -- sometimes advising Mr. McCain as a candidate, and sometimes

advising private clients on their interactions with him as a senator"

raises serious conflict of interest questions.

    Earlier this week, reports revealed that Reed -- one of Abramoff's

closest business associates -- sent an email solicitation claiming to be a

member of McCain's Victory 2008 team and asking people to "join me and Jo

Anne at the August 18 event in" Atlanta. This makes Reed the second

Abramoff-linked fundraiser to raise campaign cash for McCain. Last month,

reports revealed that Juan Carlos Benitez, a lawyer and lobbyist who was

appointed to a Department of Justice post responsible for overseeing

Abramoff clients after a recommendation from Abramoff himself, is a bundler

for McCain's campaign.


    Abramoff Associate Ralph Reed Raising Money for McCain. "The McCain

campaign has long been concerned about whether conservative Christian

voters would fall in line this fall. But last week Ralph Reed, the first

executive editor of the Christian Coalition and an unsuccessful 2006

candidate for Georgia lieutenant governor, invited well-heeled folks to a

'very special event' -- that means a fundraiser -- for McCain in downtown

Atlanta on August 18. Reed, whose campaign was torpedoed by his affiliation

with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, noted he's also agreed to serve as a

member of the McCain Victory 2008 Team, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

reported." [Washington Post, 8/12/08]

    Abramoff's Law Firm Won Praise from McCain After Hiring McCain Advisor

to Lobby on Its Behalf. "When Senator John McCain led a Senate

investigation three years ago of Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist who

later pleaded guilty to fraud charges, Mr. Abramoff's old firm turned to a

former McCain campaign adviser for help. The firm, Greenberg Traurig, which

had quickly cut its ties to Mr. Abramoff, hired Randy Scheunemann, who had

been the McCain campaign's foreign policy adviser in 2000 -- and is again

this year -- for advice on handling the Senate investigation... Mr. McCain

praised Greenberg Traurig's cooperation, saying in prepared remarks at the

time that 'consistent with their professional obligations, Greenberg

Traurig and its counsel have always been responsive to the committee's

requests, always made themselves available to answer questions, and have

always conducted themselves with dignity and professionalism in these

trying circumstances.'" [New York Times, 8/14/08:



    Watchdog Group: Scheunemann's Dual Role Raises Questions. "Craig

Holman, the governmental affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a consumer

advocacy organization, said Mr. Scheunemann's dual role -- sometimes

advising Mr. McCain as a candidate, and sometimes advising private clients

on their interactions with him as a senator -- raised potential red flags.

'This is a serious revolving door problem: a person who keeps fluctuating

between being a lobbyist, and advising candidates,' Mr. Holman said." [New

York Times, 8/14/08:



    Abramoff Helped McCain Bundler Obtain DOJ Post Overseeing Abramoff's

Clients. "As Mr. McCain releases the names of hundreds of 'bundlers' -- his

top money collectors -- one person who popped up is Juan Carlos Benitez, a

lawyer and lobbyist whom Mr. Abramoff had championed for a Bush

administration post. According to a 2006 report of the House Committee on

Government Reform, Mr. Abramoff had urged the appointment of Mr. Benitez as

special counsel for immigration-related unfair employment practices. He was

named to the position in 2001. The committee's report said Mr. Benitez's

job at the Justice Department 'gave Benitez authority' to conduct

investigations into unfair labor practices that were 'issues of importance

to Abramoff clients.' For Mr. McCain, Mr. Benitez raised $50,000 to

$100,000, according to the McCain Web site." [New York Times The Caucus

Blog, 7/16/08]

    Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee,


    This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's


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