McCain is so Mavericky that he's got a Big Washington Insider working on his behalf -- Charles Black, the guy who was arranging for a terrorist attack, I mean, the guy who said that a terrorist attack would benefit McCain. When McCain was criticized for having too many lobbyists, Black retired from his lobbyist firm, but kept a side job while working with the OMs (the original mavericks). Read on.
Chicago Trib: WASHINGTON - In selecting little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has underscored his determination to run as a reformer intent on ending the cozy deal-making of big-money special interests in Washington.
But an architect of that very strategy is Charles Black Jr., a legendary lobbyist and consultant who has deftly used his connections with business leaders and politicians to influence policy and, in the process, make a good deal of money.
Black, a senior adviser to the McCain campaign, has represented at least 120 clients from more than two dozen countries within the past decade. He has used his clout to help kill tax reforms that could have hurt foreign clients, and he once even pressed a judge to go easy an associate convicted of fraud.
Earlier this year, amid criticism that McCain's reformist message was being undercut by a campaign top-heavy with lobbyists, Black, 60, retired from his lobbying company.
But that hardly marked Black's departure from the Washington influence business, nor from private business dealings directly dependent on the decisions of the federal government.
Black remains a director of Civitas Group LLC, a low-profile consulting firm he set up months after the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security to invest in security companies and give them advice. National security is both the firm's business and the signature issue of the McCain campaign. Neither Black nor the McCain campaign would discuss Black's role with Civitas.
Federal law requires lobbyists to disclose who their clients while consulting firms, like Civitas, are not. But to some, that is a distinction without a difference; a consultant who devises the strategy lobbyists use, for example, is not considered a lobbyist.
In 2003 and 2004, Black was paid $200,000 by his foreign owners, WPP Group PLC, to urge Congress to retain favorable tax treatment of overseas corporations with U.S. subsidiaries.
The Bush administration had proposed narrowing a provision in tax law that allowed foreign corporations to load debt onto their American subsidiaries in order to lessen their U.S. tax obligations. But in mid-2004, after lobbying by Black and others, Congress declined to make those changes.
This is a must read.
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