Tom Loeffler, the national finance co-chairman for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, resigned yesterday because of his lobbying ties, a campaign adviser said.
He is the fifth person to sever ties with the campaign amid a growing concern over whether lobbyists have too great an influence over the Republican nominee. Last week, campaign manager Rick Davis issued a new policy that requires all campaign personnel to either resign or sever ties with lobbying firms or outside political groups.
"The campaign over the last week or so obviously had a perception problem with regards with this whole business of lobbyists and their work," spokesman Brian Rogers said. "This is really all about setting a policy so that we canjust get through that perception problem and the issues that come up with regards to lobbyists affiliated with the campaign and move on."
McCain has built his reputation in Congress on fighting special interests and the lobbying culture, but he has been criticized for months about the number of lobbyists serving in key positions in his campaign. Until recently, his top political adviser, Charles R. Black Jr., was the head of a Washington lobbying firm. Black retired in March from BKSH & Associates, the firm he helped found, to stay with the campaign. Davis ran a lobbying firm for several years but has said he is on leave from it.
Obviously, Campaign Finance Reform is one of McCain's signature issues and he has made a lot of rhetoric about the cushy ties between lobbyists and politicians. This has long been one of those just beneath the consciousness stories. McCain's campaign has been chalk full of advisors with a lot of ties to lobbyists.
This is currently merely a perception problem and certainly it lends credence to attacks on hypocrisy. So far, there is no evidence that lobbyists have affected any votes, however that remains to be investigated.