Monday, June 02, 2008

Republican Lobbyist Connections

Former House aide charged in lobbying scandal:

A one-time chief of staff to former Oklahoma Rep. Ernest Istook has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the House as part of the Jack Abramoff scandal.

John Albaugh is accused of accepting meals, sports and concert tickets, and other perks from lobbyists in exchange for official favors, according to charges outlined in a criminal information filed in federal court on Friday.

Abramoff Probe Takes a New Turn

Albaugh has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the House. The specifics may sound familiar, as he is accused of offenses similar to those of other Abramoff scandal figures: Taking meals, sports and concert tickets from Abramoff and his lobbying colleagues in exchange for legislative help. [snip]

The charges against Albaugh could be a step towards a federal move against Istook, who is referenced in the charging documents against Albaugh. Istook was previously known to have accepted concert tickets and campaign contributions from Abramoff.

Is this a sign that the Abramoff investigation is heating up again, and will soon reel in more fish?

Former Chief of Staff Pleads Guilty in Abramoff Case:

Federal prosecutors have a new helper in their investigation of the Jack Abramoff scandal.

The former chief of staff to Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) pleaded guilty in federal court today and agreed to cooperate.

And, there are still those Lobbyist Express problems...

McCain's Top Strategist Lobbied For Iran-Linked Firm

In the summer of 2005, John McCain's chief strategist Charlie Black, working for his firm Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, was paid $60,000 to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of the Chinese oil conglomerate CNOOC. At the time, CNOOC was mounting an aggressive bid to buy Unocal, a California-based oil giant, and Black was tasked with churning up congressional support. But the bid ultimately fell through, in part because of objections over the China oil industry's ties to Iran, a country in which it had already invested tens of millions of dollars. [snip]

Indeed, in addition to Black, McCain employs several other campaign aides and fundraisers who have served in lobbying capacities in which they advocated on behalf of foreign clients with investments and interests in Iran.

As Talking Points Memo reported, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis and his firm, Davis Manafort, "helped Akhmetov's conglomerate, System Capital Management Holdings, to develop a 'corporate communications strategy' between the beginning of 2005 through the end of summer 2005... [snip]

A bit further removed, one of McCain's fundraisers, Peter Madigan, and Black's wife Judy, both lobby on behalf of the United Arab Emirates a country that AIPAC itself says is a major hub for shipment of illegal goods into Iran. Another McCain adviser, Carly Fiorina, formerly headed Hewlett Packard, which Forbes Magazine reported, kept offices in Dubai in efforts of facilitating trade with Tehran.

But it's not just economic ties that bind, however tangentially, McCain's campaign and the Iranian government. There are political connections as well. One of the controversial figures represented by Black and his firm was Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi dissident who pushed for the invasion of Iraq with key Pentagon and administration officials before the war and has since, reportedly, passed U.S. information on Iraq to Iran.

Labels: , , ,

All rights reserved.
Disclaimer And Comment Policy