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. JOHN MCCAIN'S ABRAMOFF CONNECTION 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: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/14/us/politics/14mccain.html?_r=1&ref=politi cs&oref=slogin] 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: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/14/us/politics/14mccain.html?_r=1&ref=politi cs&oref=slogin] 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, http://www.democrats.org. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
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