DNC - Senator McCain Watch: Will McCain Stand Up for Ohio Jobs?


Washington, DC -John McCain will visit Ohio today amid new revelations about his role in a deal that will cost Ohio more than 8,000 jobs.   Yesterday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer revealed that while Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, McCain, and former DHL lobbyist and current campaign manager Rick Davis, played instrumental roles in helping DHL and its German parent company take over operations in Wilmington, Ohio in 2003, despite concerns about the local impact of the deal.  Both companies hired Davis' firm to push the deal through Congress, with DHL-Airborne Express paying Davis and his business partner $185,000 in 2003 and $405,000 from the German company Deutsche Post for other work in 2004 and 2005. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 8/6/08]

Now, as a result of the foreign ownership McCain and his campaign manager helped deliver, the company is moving their operations away from Wilmington, costing the area more than 8,000 jobs. Adding insult to injury, during a visit to Ohio last month McCain failed to mention his  or Rick Davis's role in the DHL deal, even though a teary-eyed town hall participant asked him directly about DHL's plans to move its Wilmington hub.  Instead, McCain claimed to offer up some of his so-called straight talk, saying "I don't know if I can stop it.  That's some straight talk.  Some more straight talk? I doubt it." [Time's Swampland Blog, 8/6/08]  It's not the first time McCain has been less than straightforward about Rick Davis's lobbying ties. 

McCain Rhetoric vs. McCain Reality:
Rick Davis and Lobbying

MCCAIN CLAIM → Neither Rick Davis Nor Anyone At His Firm Has Been a Registered Lobbyist in Five Years. In reference to McCain campaign manager Rick Davis - a former lobbyist - McCain senior adviser Charlie Black, himself a former lobbyist as well, asserted that neither Davis nor anyone at his firm, Davis Manafort, had lobbied in five years. Black said: "By the way Rick Davis and nobody else at his firm either has been a registered lobbyist in five years-five years." [Wall Street Journal, "Washington Wire," 5/19/08]
  • REALITY → Davis and his Firm "Represented Numerous" Lobbying Clients "as Recently as 2005." Though Black "contended that nobody at Davis Manafort had been a registered lobbyist for five years," reported the New York Times, "a check of lobbyist records shows associates at the firm have represented clients numerous times as recently as 2005." In 2005, "Davis was registered as a lobbyist for corporate clients like the telecommunications company Verizon." [New York Times, 5/20/08]
MCCAIN CLAIM → Campaign Later Changed its Tune, Said No One at Davis's Firm Had Been Registered to Lobby in Three Years. "Mr. Black told reporters that neither Mr. Davis nor anyone else at his firm 'has been a registered lobbyist in five years.' The campaign later said it was three years." [Wall Street Journal, 5/20/08]
  • REALITY → Davis Manafort Has Specialized in Representing Foreign Politicians and Businessmen Abroad, "a Type of Lobbying for Which Firms Do Not Have to Register." Representing Foreign Politicians   Though Davis Manafort last registered to lobby in 2005, the firm "has developed a specialty in recent years in a type of lobbying for which firms do not have to register -- namely, representing the interests abroad of foreign politicians and businessmen." Since 2005, reported the New York Times, Davis Manafort's "clients have included the richest man in Ukraine and a former premier of that country whose opponents were supported by Mr. McCain;" additionally, Davis organized the secession referendum for the government of Montenegro and set up a 2006 introduction between McCain and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, with whom Davis was seeking to do business. [New York Times, 5/20/08; Washington Post, 1/25/08]
  • REALITY → Subcontractor Registered to Lobby For Davis Manafort on Behalf of Ukraine Party.  "The lobbying firm of Davis Manafort Inc. arranged through an affiliate for the public-relations firm's work last spring, at the same time Davis Manafort was being paid by the Republican presidential candidate's campaign.…Details of Davis Manafort's Ukraine work were contained in a late January filing with the Justice Department. According to those documents, a public-relations firm called Daniel J. Edelman Inc. was paid $35,000 a month last year to promote the Party of Regions by Davis Manafort International LLC, a Delaware corporation set up in March 2007." [Wall Street Journal, 5/14/08]
  • REALITY → Firm's Work Would Have Required Them to Register Lobbying Activities; Questions Have Been Raised About Davis Manafort's Failure to Do So.  "Questions have been raised since some of Davis Manafort's work included public-relations efforts in the U.S. for the [Ukrainian] party. Efforts to sway U.S. public opinion on behalf of a foreign entity generally require a firm to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department. Davis Manafort isn't registered with the department. Neither Mr. Davis nor his partner, Paul Manafort, responded to phone calls and emails seeking comment. Rick Gates, a partner at Davis Manafort, said, 'We did not register because we do not work as a foreign agent.' He declined to elaborate." [Wall Street Journal, 5/20/08]
MCCAIN CLAIM → Campaign Manager Rick Davis is Working for Campaign on Unpaid Basis. According to Black, both he and McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis are, "working on an unpaid basis for the campaign." [New York Times, 5/20/08]
  • REALITY → Campaign Also Paid Nearly $1 Million to Internet Service Company Co-Founded and Co-Owned By Davis and Lobbying Partner Manafort. The McCain campaign paid a total of $972,000 to 3EDC, an "an Internet-services company" that Davis "and lobbying partner Paul Manafort had started and co-owned" which handled the campaign's "website and online fundraising." "Davis's dealings and potential conflicts of interest" were seen by campaign staffers "as particularly troubling" because 3EDC and another company he directed money toward "were start-ups with one customer -- the campaign." Though the McCain campaign originally owed 3eDC $1,079,000, during its "cash starved" phase, the campaign's 3eDC debt was reduced by $107,000 "without explanation." According to a McCain spokesman, "3eDC determined, in reconciling invoices, that the campaign actually owed the company less money."    [WSJ, 7/26/07; WSJ, 7/23/07; WSJ, 7/17/07; National Journal's Hotline On-Call, 5/23/08]
  • REALITY → Davis Reportedly Paid $20,000 a Month. A May 2007 U.S. News & World Reports article asserted that, "Davis, the campaign CEO, is paid $20,000 a month." Davis's $20,000 monthly salary was also reported by the National Journal and the Politico. [National Journal, 7/7/07; U.S. News & Word Report, 5/28/07; The Politico, 7/11/07]
  • REALITY → After McCain Stopped Paying 3eDC in March 2008, RNC Paid 3eDC $20,000 in April. The McCain campaign finally paid off its remaining debt to 3eDC in March 2008; a month later, in April 2008, 3eDC began receiving payments from the Republican National Committee. According to RNC disclosures, in April 2008 3eDC was paid $20,000 for "list development." As mentioned above, Davis's reported salary was $20,000. [Republican National Committee FEC Disclosures; National Journal, 7/7/07; U.S. News & Word Report, 5/28/07]
MCCAIN CLAIM → Rick Davis Has Not Taken Money From His Lobbying Firm Since 2006. Speaking to the New York Times, Black "defended Mr. Davis, saying the campaign manager had not taken any money from his lobbying firm since 2006." According to the McCain campaign, Davis has been on leave from his firm since 2006, and despite owning "a shire of the firm," said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers, "receives no income from Davis Manafort."  Davis, Rogers told the Wall Street Journal, "earns no money from their activities while he is on leave."  [New York Times, 5/20/08; Wall Street Journal, 5/14/08]
  • REALITY → Campaign Paid Davis's Lobbying Firm $90,000 in 2007. Despite Black's claim that Davis "had not taken any money from his lobbying firm since 2006," according to filings with the Federal Elections Commission, the McCain campaign paid Davis's firm Davis Manafort $90,000 in 2007 for "communications consulting." The payments to Davis Manafort began in January 2007 and continued until May, after Davis was ousted from the campaign. The campaign paid Davis Manafort an additional $10,000 in July, when Davis re-joined the campaign. [McCain 2008 FEC Data; Wall Street Journal, 7/23/07, 7/26/07]
  • REALITY → Payments to Lobbying Firm Match Davis's Reported Salary. A May 2007 U.S. News & World Reports article asserted that, "Davis, the campaign CEO, is paid $20,000 a month." Davis's $20,000 monthly salary was also reported by the National Journal and the Politico. The McCain campaign's FEC filings show no direct payments to Davis except for travel reimbursements. However, in a four-month span from the January until mid-May 2007, the campaign paid Davis Manafort $80,000, an amount that correlates exactly to Davis's reported salary. [National Journal, 7/7/07; U.S. News & Word Report, 5/28/07; The Politico, 7/11/07; McCain 2008 FEC Data]
MCCAIN CLAIM → McCain Campaign "Strongly Denying" NY Times Claim That NSC Staffer Called McCain's Office to Complain About Davis's Ukraine Lobbying. "John McCain's presidential campaign is blasting a New York Times report suggesting that the candidate may have known since 2005 that his campaign manager's firm worked for a Kremlin-backed politician. The McCain campaign is strongly denying the paper's reporting that in 2005, a White House National Security Council staffer called John McCain's Senate office to complain that Rick Davis' lobbying firm was 'undercutting American policy on Ukraine' by representing a Kremlin-backed politician." [ABC News, 6/13/08]
  • REALITY → But to Wall Street Journal in August 2007, McCain Campaign Admitted That NSC Official Contacted McCain's Office About Davis's Ukraine Work. "The Davis-Manafort firm's lobbying work was a source of tension before the campaign, insiders say, given that the senator's image as a crusader against special interests made him vulnerable to critics looking for hypocrisy. A sore point was the work the firm did for a pro-Kremlin politician opposed by Mr. McCain and the U.S. government: current Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich. A National Security Council official brought it to McCain aides' attention last year, they say." [Wall Street Journal, 7/23/07]
MCCAIN CLAIM → Discrepancy is in WHEN Phone Call Occurred; McCain Campaign Told WSJ It Was December 2006. According to McCain campaign officials who spoke to the Wall Street Journal in August 2007 about Davis Manafort's Ukraine work, "a National Security Council official brought it to McCain aides' attention last year, they say." "In December, soon after Mr. [Terry] Nelson was hired as campaign manager," reported the Wall Street Journal, "he raised questions" about Rick Davis's ties to two companies - 3EDC and Management Alliance -- on the campaign payroll. Continued the Journal: "It was at this time, last December, that Mr. McCain first learned about Management Alliance, 3eDC and a third issue involving Mr. Davis: his and his firm's work for the Ukrainian party headed by Mr. Yanukovich. Mr. Weaver confirmed that he raised them, backed by Mr. Nelson and Mark Salter, Mr. McCain's closest aide. Mr. Weaver said he recommended Mr. Davis be removed. Mr. McCain agreed, then later changed his mind." [Wall Street Journal, 7/23/07]

  • REALITY → New York Times Said It Occurred in 2005. "In a related development, Mr. McCain may have first become aware of Davis Manafort's activities in Ukraine as far back as 2005. At that time, a staff member at the National Security Council called Mr. McCain's Senate office to complain that Mr. Davis's lobbying firm was undercutting American foreign policy in Ukraine, said a person with direct knowledge of the phone call who spoke on condition of anonymity. A campaign spokesman, when asked whether such a call had occurred, referred a reporter to Mr. McCain's office. The spokesman there, Robert Fischer, did not respond to repeated inquiries. Such a call might mean that Mr. McCain has been long aware of Mr. Davis's foreign clients. Mr. Davis took a leave from his firm at the end of 2006." [New York Times, 6/12/08]