Top McCain Aide Lobbied for Pro-Russian Foreign Politicians

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I know, I know, its hard to keep John McCain’s lobbyists-turned-top-advisers straight. There’s chief campaign strategist Charlie Black, who lobbied for dictators in the ’80s and just about everyone else since. There’s campaign manager Rick Davis, who headed a lobbying organization for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for years and was still on Freddie’s payroll as late as August 2008. There’s top foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann, who has lobbied for Latvia, Macedonia, Georgia, and Taiwan. (And there’s 83 others who lobbied for Wall Street before and during the financial crisis.)

But National Journal has a new one for you. Christian Ferry, McCain’s deputy campaign manager and Rick Davis’s #2 man, has worked for some nasty characters:

Starting as a driver for Davis, Ferry worked his way up and was assigned key responsibilities for some of the firm’s foreign clients. They included a political party in Montenegro and a political leader in Ukraine, both backed by wealthy businessmen and oligarchs who sought to sway the outcome of elections in 2006 in those two nations…

In Ukraine, Ferry was part of a Davis Manafort team that advised Victor Yanukovich, the country’s then-prime minister, whose pro-Russian party made gains in the 2006 parliamentary elections. (In 2004, Yanukovich lost to the U.S.-backed candidate, Victor Yushchenko, in a hotly contested presidential race.)

So Ferry was lobbying for the guy the American government opposed. And now he’s one step away from a man running for president. National Journal gets the key quote from Larry Wilkerson, former top aide to one-time Secretary of State Colin Powell.

“When you take central advice from people who have advocated for foreign interests not necessarily congruent with American interests, it’s really naive to assume that the advice you’re receiving is not influenced by their previous work.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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