It is no surprise and nothing new in the land of the spin and the home of the sound bite that each and every candidate for the presidency in the year 2000 would like to convince us that he and only he is the candidate of reform, the candidate with integrity, the candidate who will bring a new day to America. Amid all the words and posturing, the Center for Public Integrity once again takes a dispassionate look at those who craft the message that makes the candidate. Our conclusion: nothing new, little sign of reform, little goes on that is not packaged by party machines, lobbyists and special interests.
We give special mention to two of the five men whose campaigns we profile here, former Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who stood on a chilly stage in New Hampshire and pledged to reform campaign financing with a focus on banning so-called soft money, the millions that constitute back door support for presidential campaigns. The words of reform may be welcome to some, but the current reality shows neither Bradley nor McCain free of special-interest money. Like all the others in our quadrennial pay-to-play presidential system, Bradley and McCain depend on money and advisers – and we include – from the most traditional of sources.
In general, the focus of this study is on the people who shape and influence the candidates and policy; regardless of the frequency of contact or whether they hold an official title.
Despite three terms in the Senate, Bradley always has defined himself as a free-thinker who isnt beholden to Washington interests. And unlike his Democratic and Republican opponents, Bradleys adviser circle isnt studded with inside-the-Beltway lobbyists and politicians. Still, Bradley is a first-rate networker, having spent years culling Manhattan and Silicon Valley for fund-raisers and policy advisers. Among his closest advisers are longtime Princeton University friends, including lawyers, business executives, and professors.
McCain, for his part, has regularly denounced the “iron triangle” of lobbyists, money and legislation. Yet he counts among his closest advisers some of the top lobbyists in the nations capital, including Rick Davis, Vin Weber and Kenneth Duberstein. Many of McCain’s advisers have clients with business before the Senate Commerce Committee, which he chairs, and those clients have contributed to his campaigns. His chief fund-raiser, Solomon Trujillo, who is chairman and chief executive officer of U S West, is McCain’s No. 1 career patron. The Commerce Committee oversees telecommunications.
Two of McCain’s top economic advisers, including Kevin Hassett, are scholars at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. Henry Kissinger is one of his foreign policy advisers.
McCain’s reformist rhetoric brought a response from his opponent, George W. Bush, the man whose $70 million war chest represents the most money ever raised by a presidential candidate on the planet. Bush takes up the mainstream Republican charge that banning corporate soft money would give unfair advantage to the Democrats, since they are buttressed by the massive support of labor unions. His financing plan called for real-time disclosure of contributions on the Internet, the only area where McCain outshines the Texas governor.
Bush owes his political career—if one leaves out his family name—to corporate money and big-time Republican politics. The Bush campaign has locked up virtually every key endorsement in the Republican establishment, including key governors and Capitol Hill lawmakers. Many of them are acting as advisers on political strategy and policy matters. Of all the candidates, Bush has assembled the largest coterie of advisers, who are coming up with positions on everything from health care to the environment. Many of them, especially in the foreign-policy arena, served in his fathers administration.
Close to business
A large number of his advisers have close ties to business, either working in Corporate America, serving on boards of directors or acting as lobbyists. Thats no surprise. Bush has run a pro-business administration as governor of Texas.
His main Democratic opponent, Al Gore, might have far fewer financial resources, but he does have the prodigious Democratic Party apparatus behind him. Gore might have moved his campaign headquarters from Washington to Nashville to show his independence from traditional politics, but his senior advisers and closest friends are among the best-connected lobbyists in Washington. Tom Downey, Anthony Podesta, Peter Knight, and Jack Quinn have represented numerous clients in the telecommunications and high-technology fields—policy arenas that Gores office has overseen during the Clinton administration. Some advisers have noted on their lobbying disclosure forms that they, or their associates, have lobbied the vice presidents office on these issues. Gore also includes among his advisers many Clinton administration officials and former officials who are now working in the private sector.
The Buchanan wildcard
“Under the Influence” also profiles the perennial wildcard in campaign politics, Patrick Buchanan, whose candidacy has become something of a micro-industry. In The Buying of the President 2000, we describe a different sort of campaign, a cadre of small money donors and speaking engagements that fuel Buchanan’s outside run. “The supporters who stand by Buchanan fight after fight tend to be from the fringes of American politics,” we say. Buchanans decision to leave the GOP for the Reform Party has driven off many of his past supporters who had been his advisers. Having run for president for eight years on the same ideas, he evidently has decided he no longer needs a circle of advisers. His closest adviser, as in the past, is his sister, Angela “Bay” Buchanan. Other campaign co-chairs are Rabbi Aryeh Spero, a conservative who used to run a think tank dedicated to close relations between blacks and Jews; leftist Lenora Fulani; and Pat Choate, who was Ross Perot’s running mate in 1996 and recently became chairman of the Reform Party.
McCain: ‘Reformer’s’ backers call beltway home
Sen. John S. McCain’s presidential aspirations are firmly anchored to his central theme of campaign finance reform. “The influence of money is corrupting our ability to address the problems that directly affect the lives of every American,” states McCain’s Web site. The Republican from Arizona has proposed several bills over the years that would ban soft money from the political process, eliminating what he believes to be the corrupt influence of special interests, lobbyists and fat-cat donors.
So when McCain’s reform plan was attacked in recent months by Washington lobbyist Grover Norquist’s group Americans for Tax Reform, the campaign found a perfect opportunity to lash out at its critics. “It is clear that John McCain has upset the lobbyists and status quo establishment in Washington with his calls to clean up our political system,” McCain 2000 New Hampshire Chair Peter Spaulding said. “The fat cats may be against him, but here in New Hampshire, John has the people on his side.”
But while the people have supported McCain in the New Hampshire primary, back in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Va., the same Beltway establishment that McCain frequently criticizes is heavily backing and advising his campaign. At times, it seems as if the McCain campaign has a very arbitrary process by which it labels some lobbyists as representative of corrupt special interests, while others become inner-circle campaign advisers. Norquist, for example, has lobbied for the same interests as two of McCain’s top political advisers, Washington super-lobbyists Vin Weber and Kenneth Duberstein.
Among other interests, Norquist has been a registered lobbyist for the Distilled Spirits Council, BP America and the Edison Electric Institute, while Weber is registered with Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc., Mobil Corp. and Edison as well. Both were registered in 1999 to lobby for Microsoft Corp., pulling in a combined $280,000 from the software giant in the first half of 1999 alone. Duberstein is a powerful lobbyist for the American Gaming Association and COMSAT, a government-owned satellite services company, while Norquist has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Interactive Gaming Council and Echostar, another satellite services firm. By the Center for Public Integrity’s count, Weber and Duberstein together are currently registered to lobby for more than 55 corporate and special interests, many of them with concerns before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which McCain chairs.
But it’s not that Weber and Duberstein are the only two K Street lobbyists in an otherwise untainted campaign. Consider the following:
McCain’s own campaign manager, Rick Davis, has been a registered lobbyist for GTECH (the world’s largest lottery company, which has been under the shadow of possible federal prosecution for years) as recently as June 1999.
While Davis and Ken Duberstein lobby for gaming companies, foreign policy adviser Richard Burt is vice chairman of one. The gaming industry has given more money to McCain than any other presidential candidate.
Former Sen. Warren B. Rudman, R-N.H., a proud co-chair of McCain’s 2000 campaign who told the Center for Public Integrity, “I don’t lobby,” has been a registered lobbyist for a coalition of utility companies seeking help in overturning a 1935 federal law. When asked by the Center how he reconciled those two facts, Rudman stated that he registered with an “abundance of caution” and was minimally involved with the account, which did not cross his threshold for what constitutes lobbying.
So which should the voter believe? The McCain rhetoric, which emphasizes cleansing Washington of its corrupt special-interest culture, or the McCain adviser, who represents the worst examples of that same special-interest influence? The answer isn’t easy.
Advisers, special interests, and everything in between
Like many campaigns, McCain 2000’s advisers are generally divided between the hard-core Washington operatives who advise politically, and the policy-oriented issue advisers from outside the city. While there are some crossovers, most of the candidate’s policy people come from Arizona, South Carolina and academia, while the crucial fund raisers and politicos are based in Washington, D.C.
While stumping across the country, McCain emphasizes his outside-the-Beltway approach to campaign finance reform. But his innermost circle of advisers consists of veteran K Street lobbyists and special-interest fund-raisers, many of whom make a living trying to influence McCain’s Commerce Committee. The harsh reality of needing to raise huge amounts of money to compete effectively in a presidential campaign has forced McCain to turn to the very same special-interest lobbyists that his campaign rhetoric routinely slams.
The credibility gap starts with his campaign manager, Davis. A former White House aide to President Reagan, Davis is a name partner with the lobbying firm Davis, Manafort & Freedman, Inc. In 1999, the firm had four active clients: GTECH Corporation (gambling), SBC Communication, Inc. (a Baby Bell phone company), COMSAT Corp. (a government-owned satellite company), and Fruit of the Loom, Inc. (a basic apparel manufacturer). Two of those companies, COMSAT and SBC, had major (and controversial) mergers pending before the Federal Communications Commission in 1999, and both mergers were approved (the Commerce Committee has legislative oversight authority, and therefore quite a bit of political influence, over the FCC). While Tim McKone, a McCain fund-raiser who left the firm in November 1999 to become the top lobbyist at SBC, handled the SBC and COMSAT accounts, it was Davis who was registered to lobby for GTECH through at least June 30, 1999, well into the campaign season.
Davis isn’t the only lobbyist who guides the McCain campaign. McCain 2000 national chairman and former Sen. Warren Rudman recently told the Center, “Ive never been paid for anything Ive done in political life and I dont lobby.” Yet, federal lobbying records show that as recently as January of 1999, Rudman was a registered lobbyist for the Coalition of Utility Companies Seeking PUHCA Repeal. “PUHCA” is the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, a bill championed by Franklin Roosevelt to ensure that the nation’s power supply didn’t fall into monopolistic hands, as it had in 1932, when J.P. Morgan controlled 44.9% of the nation’s electricity through various holding companies.
When the Center asked Rudman in 1996 whether he had gone through the Washington revolving door (he was then advising Republican Sen. Robert Dole’s presidential campaign), the New Hampshire senator responded, “I have like hell — I practice law. You’re absolutely dead wrong.” As proof, he said that he did not lobby.
In response to an inquiry from the Center, Rudman argued that his minimal involvement with the coalition did not qualify him as a lobbyist. He said he never went to Capitol Hill and was involved only in strategy.
Two of the top political advisers to McCain are Vin Weber and Ken Duberstein, lobbyists whose client lists read like a who’s who of companies with major issues before the Senate Commerce Committee. Weber’s clients for 1999 include some of the biggest companies in telecommunications, aviation and space, including AT&T, Microsoft, Air Transportation of America and Lockheed-Martin. Other big business clients include Edison Electric; the National Association of Homebuilders; the National Association of Realtors; New York Life Insurance; Fannie Mae, the government chartered corporation that facilitates mortgages for low- and middle-income families; Sallie Mae, the government sponsored student loan company; Schering-Plough; Mobil Corp., now part of Exxon-Mobil; and Visa USA.
Duberstein’s big-bucks client list includes the likes of COMSAT, Dow Corning, Fannie Mae, General Motors, Goldman Sachs & Co., Business Roundtable, CSX, United Airlines, Transportation Institute and Time Warner, Inc. It’s no surprise that so many air, rail and telecommunications companies look to Duberstein and Weber for help in persuading lawmakers. Not many lobbyists can claim such a close relationship with the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. Besides acting as political advisers to McCain, they also co-hosted a fund raiser on March 23, 1999, that raked in $120,000 for the candidate.
Perhaps the best example of Weber’s and Duberstein’s dual roles as advisers and lobbyists came at the end of 1999, when Lockheed-Martin was engaged in a fierce battle to buy COMSAT. This came at the same time that McCain was in the throes of his presidential campaign, gaining momentum and traction in New Hampshire.
COMSAT is the U.S. government’s reseller of International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT) service, which is the global satellite coalition founded in 1964. Under current federal law, COMSAT has a monopoly over offering lucrative INTELSAT telecommunications services to private customers. When Lockheed-Martin announced in 1998 that it intended to purchase COMSAT for roughly $2.7 billion, it knew that only congressional legislation could authorize the full sale of COMSAT to a private entity.
Although Lockeed managed to win Federal Communications Commission approval to buy 49% of COMSAT in September 1999, the company faced stiff opposition from other telecommunications companies in trying to purchase the remaining 51%. In addition, the badly needed bill that would have given Lockheed the go-ahead to buy the remainder of COMSAT was languishing in the House, where Commerce Chairman Thomas Bliley, R-Va., refused to offer Lockheed more than 10% of COMSAT.
Faced with a stalemate, Lockheed brought in the big guns; among the high-powered lobbyists signed up for the COMSAT deal were Duberstein (for COMSAT) and Weber (for Lockheed-Martin). McCain fund-raiser Tim McKone, still with Rick Davis at Davis, Manafort & Freedman, was also hired on for COMSAT. The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported that in 1998, Lockheed spent $6.6 million on lobbying and had more than 45 outside firms on its payroll; in 1999, COMSAT had spent most of its $2 million lobbying budget by September and had hired six outside firms of its own. Federal lobbying records show that in just the first half of 1999, Duberstein’s firm brought in $140,000 from COMSAT and Weber’s Clark & Weinstock was paid $160,000 by Lockheed, while McKone earned a more modest $39,000 from COMSAT.
The lobbyists certainly paid off. Where Bliley had concerns about approving the Lockheed-COMSAT deal because of the larger implications for U.S. satellite policy, McCain’s Commerce Committee had no such qualms. The committee moved a bill (S. 376) through the Senate and won unanimous approval by July 1999, a move that put increasing pressure on Bliley to act. Facing a pro-Lockheed Senate version of the bill, a ferocious lobbying effort with close ties to the Senate Commerce chairman, and pressure from House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Bliley finally caved in December and agreed to expedite the conference process needed to reconcile his legislation with the Senate version. Conferees, among them McCain, were named on Jan. 24, 2000, and a Lockheed-favorable resolution is predicted in March.
Five days after an industry newsletter announced that Bliley would acquiesce to Duberstein, Weber and company, McCain appeared at a GOP debate in Arizona. There, he thanked conservative candidate Gary Bauer for agreeing with him on campaign finance reform. “I am grateful for Gary’s support in my effort to limit the corrupting influence of special-interest money,” McCain said. “Reforming the way campaigns are financed is the only way to . . . restore confidence in our government.”
But until that reform is enacted, the only way McCain can effectively challenge George W. Bush is with fund-raisers who can bring in cash, and lots of it. So it’s no surprise that two of McCain’s top fund-raisers are also special-interest representatives. Timothy McKone, formerly of Davis, Manafort & Freedman, returned to his old employer SBC in November 1999 to become vice president for congressional relations. While campaign manager Davis employed McKone as an SBC Communications (and COMSAT) lobbyist at Davis, Manafort & Freedman, SBC was in the midst of a fierce regulatory battle for the right to purchase Ameritech Corp. for $62 billion. Ever the mindful campaign fund raiser, however, McKone sent out a fund-raising solicitation for McCain’s presidential campaign on May 11, 1999, proclaiming that, “John McCain has become a recognized leader on telecommunications, insurance, and aviation issues, stressing the need to promote competition and government deregulation . . .”
The chairman was certainly becoming a leader in milking the corporate cash cow; he was reported to have pressured the FCC into approving the SBC merger, which the agency did by early October 1999. The deal gave SBC control over one-third of all local phone service in the country. In the meantime, SBC has given McCain more than $45,000 since 1998.
Another fund-raiser with interests before McCain is Solomon Trujillo, chairman, president and CEO of U S West, John McCain’s number one career patron. Trujillo is also McCain’s national finance co-chairman. Over the years, Trujillo and the company have given McCain $107,520. As chairman of the Commerce Committee that regulates the telecommunications industry, McCain has been able to return the favor; in May 1999, McCain introduced the Internet Regulatory Freedom Act, legislation that would have allowed such Baby Bells as U S West to enter the lucrative broadband Internet market. Broadband is the commonly used term for next-generation high-speed telecommunications service. Trujillo praised the bill, exulting, “If the Internet is deregulated in the manner Senator McCain is suggesting, U S West will be able to provide high-speed Internet service to an additional two million households and businesses throughout our region during the first year alone.”
One of the more interesting statistics to come out of the 2000 presidential campaign is that through Dec. 31, 1999, John McCain had received more than $69,000 from the casino and gambling industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That amount makes candidate McCain the number two recipient of money from the industry, after George W. Bush ($95,450).
After all, it is McCain who recently butted heads with the gaming industry over slot machines that feature child-enticing themes based on the television show South Park and the cartoon characters Spiderman and the Pink Panther. On Dec. 11, 1999, McCain announced he would investigate the practice and possibly hold hearings to investigate the matter. Speaking about what its opponents call “slots for tots,” McCain stated, “I question the propriety of companies using child-based themes that may entice children in an obviously adult industry.” The industry was not pleased. Three days after McCain’s announcement, American Gaming Association President Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. remarked that “the enemies of gaming have been firing missiles at us.”
While the “enemies of gaming” may be behind McCain’s decision to investigate “slots for tots,” the friends of gaming are some of the closest advisers behind McCain’s presidential campaign. While McCain has been railing against the gambling industry that targets the nation’s youth, his own advisers have been working for, and earning substantial money from, that very same industry. This helps to explain why the campaign cash from gaming interests continues to fill McCain’s coffers.
While many support McCain’s most recent campaign against gambling, the senator’s prior record is filled with inconsistencies on the subject. As the Center for Public Integrity reported in its recently released book The Buying of the President 2000 (Avon), McCain has done several favors for the gaming industry over his career. The industry has contributed over $100,000 to the senator since 1993.
In June 1998, McCain voted for legislation to overhaul the Internal Revenue Service that included a tax exemption for the casino industry for free meals given to employees. Earlier, in 1995, McCain supported legislation that paved the way for gambling “cruises to nowhere,” the same year he sponsored legislation that would have limited states’ abilities to regulate Indian gambling. More recently, McCain seems to have hit the jackpot with Native American gambling interests by opposing legislation that would have halted the expansion of gambling onto Indian reservations. As the legislation was debated in Congress throughout the summer and fall of 1999, the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Nation, which operates the world’s largest casino, gave McCain more than $25,000, more than half coming from a fund-raiser the Indian nation hosted for him on June 30, 1999.
Even more startling, however, is the number of close advisers to McCain’s presidential campaign who have strong ties to the gaming industry. Campaign manager Rick Davis was registered to lobby for GTECH up through the middle of 1999. GTECH is the world’s largest operator of computerized online lotteries, with businesses spanning five continents. It also runs 29 of the 38 U.S. state lotteries. But the huge company has had its problems over the years. GTECH’s most recent annual report highlights some of the difficulties:
“In December 1998, Lawrence Littwin, the former Executive Director of the Texas Lottery Commission from June 1997 to October 1997, filed suit against GTECH in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas alleging that GTECH, as operator of the Texas lottery, unlawfully attempted to have Mr. Littwin removed as Executive Director of the Texas Lottery Commission in order to continue its alleged unlawful control of the Texas Lottery Commission and the Texas lottery. The specific causes of action alleged by Mr. Littwin include alleged tortious interference by GTECH with Mr. Littwin’s employment relationship with the Texas Lottery Commission which caused him to be removed as the Executive Director; alleged conspiracy with unspecified third parties to maintain control of the Texas Lottery Commission and the Texas lottery; and various alleged civil violations by GTECH of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act (18 Sections 1961(4) and 1962(b), (c) and (d)) (‘RICO’).”
Littwin and his attorneys have suggested throughout the proceedings that GTECH was allowed to keep its state lottery contract in exchange for former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes’ silence. Barnes, a former GTECH lobbyist, admitted under oath that he helped George W. Bush enlist in the Texas Air National Guard rather than go to Vietnam 31 years ago.
Texas isn't the only place where GTECH has had its problems. In October of 1994, the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office secured an indictment of GTECH’s former sales manager for taking kickbacks from two company consultants; the sales manager and one of the consultants were later convicted. The company, which runs Ireland’s lottery system, is also under investigation by the Irish Parliament for an investment of $100,000 made by Guy B. Snowden, then-CEO of GTECH, in a business owned by the former Irish Prime Minister’s son.
Apparently undeterred by GTECH’s checkered past, McCain’s campaign manager has been a registered lobbyist for the company through at least June of 1999. For the first six months of that year, Davis earned $30,000 from GTECH. In 1998, the company paid Davis $70,000 for services rendered.
In addition to Davis, political adviser Ken Duberstein is an active lobbyist for the gambling industry. Duberstein represents the American Gaming Association, a typical inside-the-Beltway trade group for the casino-based gambling sector. When asked by the Center why so much gambling money was going to McCain, AGA President and CEO Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. postulated, “He’s a big boxing fan,” referring to the large amount of time the senator spends in Las Vegas. Boxing fan or not, Duberstein’s firm was paid $60,000 through the first half of 1999. In 1997 and 1998, the firm brought in $260,000 from AGA. AGA, like most interest groups in Washington, has strong political ties. Farenkopf is a former Republican National Committee chairman, and the current vice president for government affairs for AGA, John E. Shelk, is a former Republican counsel to the House Commerce Committee.
Where McCain advisers aren’t lobbying for gambling interests, they’re actually part of the interests themselves. Richard Burt, the United States’ chief negotiator for the START I treaty with the Soviet Union and a McCain foreign policy adviser, was chairman of Powerhouse Technologies, Inc., from 1994 through June 1999, when it was purchased by Anchor Gaming. Burt is now vice chairman of Anchor, a diversified gaming company best known for its slot machines, which it leases to casinos. The company also runs lotteries and casinos itself, and recently signed on to build the Pala Band of Mission Indians a $90 million casino in California. Powerhouse Technologies, a maker of online and video lottery systems and equipment, was expected to help grow Anchor’s revenues to $500 million in the first year after the merger. The company also announced on Dec. 13, 1999, that it was awarded a contract to provide the first online lottery program in the People’s Republic of China.
Like its competitor GTECH, Anchor has had its share of unsavory publicity. The company was hit with five lawsuits in 1997 and 1998. Shareholders alleged that the company artificially inflated its stock price so insiders could sell off their holdings at a profit. According to Anchors 1999 annual report, the suits have been dismissed or are still pending.
Given his expressed concern for protecting children from the “adult industry” of gambling, perhaps McCain should have looked into who the first innovators of those much-beleaguered themed slot machines were. In 1993, a four-year old company named Anchor Gaming, in conjunction with International Game Technology, introduced a “Wheel of Fortune”-themed slot machine, the first of its kind.
Political advisers and fund-raisers:
Kenneth Duberstein: Political adviser and fund-raiser. Prior to serving as chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan (1988-1989), Duberstein had been appointed deputy undersecretary of labor and director of congressional and intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. General Services Administration.
Duberstein is the founding chairman of the Duberstein Group, one of the most powerful lobbying shops in Washington. He was registered to lobby for the following companies in 1999: American Council of Life Insurance, American Gaming Association, COMSAT Corporation, Comcast Corp., Dow Corning Corp., FannieMae, General Motors Corp., Goldman Sachs & Co., American Association of Health Plans, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co., American Waterworks Co., American Apparel Manufacturers Assoc., Business Roundtable, Direct Marketing Association, CSX, United Airlines, Transportation Institute, Time Warner, Inc., National Cable TV Association, and Healthcare Leadership Council.
Duberstein also serves as a director for a number of corporate boards, including: Boeing; Global Vacation Group, Inc.; The St. Paul Companies; Cinergy Corporation; and Fannie Mae (for whom he is also a lobbyist). He is also on the boards of governors for both the American Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, and on the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center. Boeing is John McCain’s #5 career patron, having given the senator more than $60,000 during his career.
Also see Advisers, Special Interests and High Roller. Duberstein did not return repeated calls from the Center.
Vin Weber: Political adviser. Former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.) is the vice chairman and co-founder of the conservative think-tank Empower America and was an unpaid adviser and national co-chair in the Robert Dole presidential campaign of 1996. The former congressman (1981-1993) is a partner at Clark & Weinstock, where he is registered with Congress to lobby for the following companies: AT&T, Edison Electric Institute, Federal Home Mortgage Corp., Northern States Power Company, the National Center for Tobacco Free Kids, Microsoft Corp., New York Life Insurance Company, the American Association of Health Plans, the National Center for Tobacco Free Kids Action Fund, CapCURE, SLM Holding Corp. (Sallie Mae), Emergency Coalition for U.S. Financial Support of the U.N., Air Transportation of America, Choicepoint, Inc., Lockheed-Martin, Schering-Plough, Mobil Corp., Visa USA, Inc.
In 1997, Weber brought Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates to see McCain at a time when the Justice Department was investigating the software giant for possible anti-competitive practices. Several of the companies Weber lobbies for have had major mergers before federal regulators in recent years, including AT&T (Tele-Communications, Inc., and MediaOne, Inc.), Lockheed-Martin (McDonnell Douglas and COMSAT), and Mobil (Exxon).
Weber is also a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and codirector of the Institute’s Policy Forum. He is a director of ITT Educational Services, Inc., Department 56, Inc., Mark Centers Trust, Inc., TCF Financial Corporation, and OneLink Communications, Inc. OneLink, a company that transforms telecommunications data into useful charts and graphs for business managers, counts U S West as one of its major customers.
Also see Advisers, Special Interests. Weber did not return repeated calls from the Center.
Jeff Groscost: Political adviser. Groscost is a senior political adviser to the campaign and is speaker of the Arizona House. He is also co-chair of McCain’s Arizona campaign. Before being elected to the Arizona legislature in 1992, Groscost helped run legislative campaigns. Like Marc Spitzer (see below), Groscost was criticized in Arizona for feelers he sent out to other legislators on delaying the Arizona presidential primary, for fear McCain might lose it. This wasn’t the first time Groscost’s motives were questioned; he has come under fire for holding consulting contracts with a natural-gas firm and a plumbing trade association while pushing legislation beneficial to those groups.
Timothy McKone: Fund-raiser. Tim McKone is one of the campaigns primary fund-raisers who served as congressional liaison on Robert Doles presidential campaign and for the Republican National Convention in 1996. After just two years as a senior lobbyist for Davis, Manafort & Freedman in Alexandria, Va., McKone returned to his old employer, SBC Communications, as its vice president for congressional affairs.
His first order of business was to pressure members of Congress to support the pending SBC-Ameritech deal. McCain wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission imploring its commissioners to expedite the review process for the merger. The FCC had already taken more than a year to review the proposal and was admonished by McCain in the press for dragging its feet. The mega-merger was approved in October 1999, giving SBC and Ameritech nearly one-third of the nation’s local telephone connections. Before returning to SBC, McKone was also paid by COMSAT to lobby alongside Duberstein and Weber for the Lockheed-COMSAT merger. See Advisers, Special Interests.
Solomon D. Trujillo: National finance co-chair; fund-raiser. Sol Trujillo is chairman, president, and CEO of U S West (McCain’s largest career patron) and is a national finance co-chair (along with Herb Allison) of McCain 2000. He is on the boards of Target Corporation and BankAmerica. Also see Advisers, Special Interests.
Herb Allison: National finance co-chair; fund-raiser. Herb Allison is the national finance co-chairman. He is the former president and chief operating officer of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., one of the nation’s largest investment companies. Allison, a U.S. Navy veteran who also served in Vietnam, told the Financial Times newspaper last September that McCain “will provide the leadership we need to make America strong and prosperous.” Though Allison met McCain only one month prior to becoming one of his top finance advisers, he has turned down offers from other investment firms and is “focusing on getting John McCain elected.”
Georgette Mosbacher: National co-chair; fund-raiser. Mosbacher is an entrepreneur (La Prairie Cosmetics), author, and Washington insider. Mosbacher, who is close to the Bush family, recently contributed $1,000 to McCain’s chief political rival, George W. Bush. “Why burn those bridges if you dont have to? These are two pragmatic, experienced politicians who understand that at some point theyre going to need each other as assets,” Mosbacher told the New York Times in December. Last September, Mosbacher, along with Dr. Henry Kissinger and Michael Bloomberg, hosted a fund-raiser/book release party for McCain at the Manhattan headquarters of Bloomberg L.P., the financial news service. Mosbacher, who recently touted Tipper Gores commitment to the mental health of children at an awards ceremony at New York University, is one of New York City Mayor Rudolph Giulianis biggest supporters in his race against Hillary Clinton for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Warren B. Rudman: National co-chair; political adviser. Ex-Sen. Warren Rudman, R-N.H., is a national co-chairman and regards McCain as “one of my closest friends in the Senate.” He was an unpaid adviser to the Dole campaign in 1996. “I’ve never been paid for anything I’ve done in political life and I don’t lobby,” Rudman told the Center, adding that he was “advising [McCain] in great detail on the New Hampshire campaign.”
The former U.S. Senator from New Hampshire (1981-1993) is a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, which is registered with the Department of Justice to represent foreign entities. Its clients have included MCI, Viacom, the Embassy of [South] Korea, and Korea Telecom. In December 1986, Rudman was appointed to serve as vice chairman of the Senate committee investigating arms transfers to Iran. He also served on the Ethics Committee and presided over numerous investigations, including that of the Keating Five, in which McCain was reprimanded for meeting with federal regulators on behalf of savings and loan operator Charles Keating. Said Rudman: “John [McCain], I think, came out of that whole thing with a whole different attitude about special interests . . . [the Keating investigation] has strengthened my perception of him.”
Rudman is on the board of trustees of the liberal think tank the Brookings Institution. He is on the boards of Allied Waste Industries, Inc. (the nation’s number two trash company), Collins & Aikman Corp. (an automobile interior systems manufacturer), the Chubb Corporation (property/casualty insurance), Raytheon Co. (the country’s number three aerospace and defense firm), and Prime Succession, Inc. (a chain of elderly homes and cemeteries). He was recently elected to the board of Boston Scientific Corp. (a medical device manufacturer). Rudman is also chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, is co-chairman of the Concord Coalition (started in 1992 by Sens. Rudman and Tsongas to promote deficit reduction), and serves on the Senior Advisory Board of the Institute of Politics of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Up until last year, Rudman was a registered lobbyist for the Coalition of Utility Companies Seeking PUHCA Repeal (see Advisers, Special Interests).
Policy advisers — general policy:
Marshall Wittman: General policy adviser. Wittman has worked with McCain’s office for more than 10 years and has known McCain for two years. Wittman told the Center that he supports McCain over Bush and other Republican candidates because “he is the one with the most integrity and experience to be president based on his years in the Senate and life experiences.” Wittman is the former director of legislative affairs for the Christian Coalition and currently serves the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., as director of congressional relations with the U.S. Senate. He served as deputy assistant secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services from 1992 to 1993 and as a legislative representative with the National Association of Retired Federal Employees.
Foreign Policy: Dr. Jeane Kirkpatrick: Foreign policy adviser. Kirkpatrick was chief U.S. delegate to the United Nations (1981-1985). Kirkpatrick was a national co-chairwoman for Robert Doles presidential campaign in 1996. She currently serves as the director of foreign policy and defense studies at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Kirkpatrick is a founding member of Empower America.
Kirkpatrick is on the board of Chris-Craft Industries, Inc., a company that owns the UPN television network in conjunction with Viacom. It also manufactures plastic film products and water-soluble laundry bags for the chemical and healthcare industries. Kirkpatrick also serves on Commodore Applied Technologies, Inc.‘s board of directors. Commodore specializes in the disposal of hazardous waste and chemical weapons.
Kirkpatrick also teaches at Georgetown University, where she is a chaired professor in the government department.
Dr. Henry Kissinger: Foreign policy adviser. Kissinger is the founding chairman of Kissinger & Associates, an international consulting firm based in New York City. Kissinger was the United States 56th secretary of state (1973-1977), and served as assistant to the president for national security affairs from 1969 to 1975. In 1983, President Reagan appointed Kissinger to chair the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America. He served as a member of the Presidents Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 1984 to 1990. Kissinger has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“I met [McCain] because when I left Hanoi the Vietnamese offered [to let] me take McCain with me and I refused to take him on the grounds that I wanted people to go out in the order in which the agreement provided. And I didn’t do any special favors for any of them,” Kissinger told the Center. “When [McCain] came out a few months later, he called me and thanked me for saving his honor. I’ve had high regard for him ever since. I always thought he would make a good president.”
Kissinger said that he has been speaking with McCain on foreign policy matters since McCain became a senator and considers him “a good friend of mine.” He says he has met with McCain several times recently, and they speak by phone once or twice a month at McCain’s request. He declined to say what specific issues they discuss.
Kissinger is on the boards of Continental Grain Company, Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, Inc., Hollinger International, Inc., Revlon, Inc., and Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. He serves as a counselor to the Chase Manhattan Bank, as an adviser to the board of American Express, and as a trustee for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Richard Burt: Foreign policy adviser. From 1989 to 1991, Burt served as chief negotiator in the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) with the former Soviet Union. He was the U.S. ambassador to West Germany from 1985 to 1989. Burt was the assistant secretary of state for European and Canadian affairs from 1983 to 1985, and served as director of politico-military affairs from 1981 to 1983. In 1996, Burt was an adviser to Phil Gramm’s presidential campaign.
Burt is a founder and the chairman of IEP Advisors, Inc., which his biographical statement describes as a Washington, D.C. “consulting and merchant banking firm.” The firm is also registered to lobby for Bell Helicopter Textron, a subsidiary of Textron, Inc., which makes Cessna airplanes and Bell helicopters. Burt is also a member of Textron Corporation’s International Advisory Board. FEC disbursement records show that McCain 2000 has chartered air travel from Cessna Aircraft Corp. at a cost of more than $3,500. Candidates frequently charter flights from campaign supporters, who charge the campaigns much less than what it would cost to purchase equivalent commercial charters.
From 1991 to 1994, Burt was a partner in McKinsey & Co., a worldwide management consulting firm. He also serves as the chairman of the board of Weirton Steel, Inc., a tin-plate manufacturer, and serves on the boards of directors of Paine Webber Mutual Funds, Hollinger International, and Archer Daniels Midland. In addition, Burt is a member of the Bank of Montreal’s International Advisory Board. He is also vice chairman of Anchor Gaming. See High Roller.
Economics, tax policy, and social security:
Dr. Kevin Hassett: Economic policy coordinator. Hassett is the focal point for McCain’s economic, tax and social security advisers. He has direct access to John Raidt, McCain 2000’s policy coordinator, and is the adviser in charge of corralling the rest of the economic/social security team. He was the principal organizer of McCain’s tax plan, which was released in December 1999.
Hassett is currently a resident scholar at the conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute, where his papers have focused on tax policy and reform. He is author of the 1999 book Dow 36,000, which explores ways to make money from the current high-flying stock market. Prior to coming to American Enterprise, Hassett was a senior economist for the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System, and taught at the Columbia University School of Business.
Marc Spitzer: Tax adviser. Spitzer, a state senator in Arizona for eight years, was involved in developing McCain’s tax proposal. When not serving in the Arizona Senate, Spitzer is a tax attorney for KPMG/Peat Marwick. Spitzer supported moving Arizona’s primary later in the season, which was seen by some observers as a blatant attempt to help McCain avoid a potentially embarrassing loss.
Sptizer told the Center he sees his value to McCain as being able to bridge the gap between politics and esoteric tax law. Much of his work on the McCain tax plan involved identifying corporate tax loopholes (exemptions that give corporations a break on paying taxes) that McCain wants to close, and he cited as an example capital write-offs for oil and gas drilling. Loopholes are Spitzer’s specialty, and he has been in contact with McCain over the years about bad tax loopholes coming out of the Congress.
Spitzer first met McCain when McCain ran for Congress in ’81 in Spitzer’s district. Spitzer campaigned for McCain then, and has remained in contact since. His primary contact at the campaign is Kevin Hassett. Spitzer described Hassett as “a really smart guy.” All of his advising was done over the telephone, mainly with Hassett, with some teleconferences. Because of his experience in practicing tax law, Spitzer told the Center that he can take McCain’s proposals and turn them into vivid hypothetical situations.
Dr. Sylvester Schieber: Social security adviser. Scheiber works for Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a human resources consulting firm. He’s been there 17 years, and “has done a lot of work on social security.” Scheiber is a noted authority on the subject, and told the Center that he has spoken with many politicians in the past about it, including Sens. Bill Bradley, D-N.J.; Bob Kerrey, D-Neb.; Bill Roth, R-Del.; Daniel Patrick Moynihan D-N.Y.; and in the House Charles Stenholm, D-Texas. He has testified before the budget and tax committees in both houses of Congress.
His contact with McCain and the campaign has been recent and limited. He was contacted in late 1999, and after two or three phone calls with the campaign was invited to two meetings of about 15 to 20 people (including the senator) at campaign headquarters in Virginia.
Dr. Jeremy Siegel: Finance adviser. Siegel has never advised other politicians, and was brought into the McCain campaign by Hassett (“he’s the head one”), whom he met in May at an academic conference. Siegel’s role has been to review the economic aspects and consequences of the tax plan. He participated in conference calls in August, and in December was brought to D.C. to meet with McCain, other advisers and staff. He has traveled with McCain in Michigan and New Hampshire, when the candidate unveiled the tax plan. He teaches at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Charles Calomiris: Finance and economics adviser. Hassett, whose office is next to Calomiris’ at the American Enterprise Institute, approached Calomiris to work for the campaign. Calomiris, a professor at Columbia, works at AEI once a week, and has been there for about three years. While at AEI, he founded a financial deregulation project that seeks to promote decreased regulation of the finance industry. Calomiris told the Center he has testified numerous times before congressional committees, has advised foreign governments, and has advised various federal agencies such as the Federal Reserve. This is his first time working in a political campaign.
His attraction to McCain was solidified after reading McCain’s biography Faith of My Fathers, and says it’s “fun” to work with the candidate. On McCain: “He listens [to advisers], then he decides.” Calomiris has written some briefs for the campaign, and touches base with Hassett about once a week. He meets one-on-one with Hassett, participates in conference calls, and has met in larger groups with McCain and other advisers. He has not traveled with the campaign.
Dr. Doug Holtz-Eakin: Economics and tax adviser. Professor and chairman of the economics department at Syracuse University. Holtz-Eakin took his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1985 and currently researches topics such as economic growth, infrastructure and entrepreneurship. Holtz-Eakin was brought into the campaign by Hassett, whom he knew through academic circles. His advice was generally given by telephone and e-mail through Hassett. He participated in one or two large conference calls, and attended a large meeting in Washington with other advisers. This is Holtz-Eakins first time advising a candidate. He was on President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. He told the Center that he sees his role as an adviser as primarily a good way to weed out particularly egregious proposals.
Maya MacGuineas: Social security adviser. MacGuineas has worked at the Brookings Institution, the investment firm Paine Webber, and the Concord Coalition (started in ’92 by Sens. Rudman and Tsongas to promote deficit reduction). She is now with Third Millennium, a project that describes itself as “a non-partisan, non-profit organization launched by young adults (Generation X and the Millennial Generation) to offer solutions to long-term problems (including Social Security reform and Medicare reform) facing the United States.” She has a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and is on the board of Common Cause, a non-profit organization that promotes better government. This is her first presidential foray, which she describes as “a blast!” She was attracted to McCain because of his stance on campaign finance reform and social security.
MacGuineas was initially approached by the campaign, which apparently was seeking someone with a long-term perspective on issues like social security. She briefed the campaign about six months ago. MacGuineas has participated in a combination of conference calls and, more recently, meetings leading up to the unveiling of the tax proposal. While Hassett, who pulled together the economic advisers, has remained in contact with her, she has worked most with John Raidt. She also traveled with the campaign in Michigan and New Hampshire for the unveiling of the tax plan.
David C. John: Social security adviser. John is a senior policy analyst for social security at the conservative think-tank the Heritage Foundation. He is Heritage’s lead voice on social security reform. He has testified the House Budget Committee’s Task Force on Social Security. Among his recent publications are papers supporting the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (S.900), a bill which would allow banks, insurance companies and investment companies to enter each other’s markets, and papers condemning President Clinton’s social security proposals that would privatize part of Social Security. Prior to coming to Heritage, John was a longtime Capitol Hill staffer, most recently as legislative director for Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C. Sanford is a member of McCain 2000’s National Steering Committee.
John was originally approached by Raidt to advise on social security, and traveled with the campaign to New Hampshire for the unveiling of the proposal. He told the Center that his involvement consisted mainly of teleconferencing, with a few meetings in D.C. leading up to the economic proposal. This is his first time advising a presidential candidate, although he has advised congressional and state-level candidates.
Education: Lisa Graham Keegan: Education adviser. Keegan is Arizona’s superintendent of public instruction, and has focused her efforts on charter schools and school choice. She told the Center that she has advised McCain since his 1992 Senate race, when she was a representative in the Arizona legislature serving on the Education Committee. She does not consider herself to be the coordinator of McCain’s educational advisers, but others familiar with the candidate’s advisory team point to Keegan as the point person on education. Keegan said she participated in teleconferences and works almost exclusively with campaign policy coordinator John Raidt.
Keegan sees and meets with McCain frequently, as he is in Arizona often. She has also been in South Carolina with McCain’s wife, Cindy. She has advised the rest of the Arizona congressional delegation, including Sen. John Kyl, a McCain co-chairman. She has also been mentioned as a possible secretary of education under either McCain or Bush. Keegan has been a frequent speaker at the Heritage Foundation and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Edward T. McMullen Jr.: Education adviser. McMullen is president of the South Carolina Policy Council, essentially a state-based affiliate of the Heritage Foundation. Prior to working at the Policy Council, McMullen was vice president for development at the Free Congress Foundation in Washington, D.C.
That foundation is a conservative think tank devoted to fighting cultural issues and “political correctness.” Before that, McMullen was director of development research at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. McMullen has served on the South Carolina commission on higher education, has developed programs on technical schools in South Carolina, and has dealt with K-12 issues. He was asked by the campaign to put together a “federalist, state-focused [education] program,” which he did. McCain’s education plan was released this past September; one component of it is to create pilot charter schools through budget cuts in the Department of Education.
McMullen told the Center that he was the primary architect for McCain’s education plan, and that he tapped his own experts in South Carolina to help him when needed. Once his work was finished, it was touched up and “fine tuned” by McCain’s other advisers (possibly Keegan). He believes the campaign also worked with Heritage experts in D.C. He never participated in any sort of “comprehensive, sit-down meeting.” He said he “operated in a vacuum in S.C.” McMullen also worked on the tax plan, and participated in conference calls. His primary contacts in the campaign are policy coordinator John Raidt and political director John Weaver.
Prior to advising McCain, McMullen had been supporting former vice president Dan Quayle. After Quayle dropped out in September of 1999, McMullen switched to McCain. He describes McCain as “very wonkish,” and has found McCain to be “very substantive.” McMullen has been named to the McCain 2000 National Steering Committee.
McMullen’s Policy Council recently led the fight to keep video gaming out of South Carolina (they argued against it on economic grounds, not moral ones). When asked by the Center what he thought of the involvement of Rick Davis, Ken Duberstein and Richard Burt in the gaming industry, McMullen responded, “It’s unfortunate to see that they have been undermined by those industries [video gaming].”
Frank Riggs: Education and environmental policy adviser. Riggs is a former congressman from California who did not run for reelection in 1998 because of a self-imposed three-term limit. He lost California’s Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat to Matt Fong that same year. Riggs kept a high profile during the Clinton impeachment proceedings, and called on the president to resign. In the 105th Congress, he was chairman of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families under the Education and Workforce Committee, where he authored legislation that addressed special education, charter schools and vocational and technical educational programs.
Since leaving Congress in 1999, Riggs has been working as a visiting fellow in education studies at the Heritage Foundation. He also has been appointed to serve on the federal government’s Twenty-first Century Workforce Commission. Riggs is a real estate executive, and was recently named president and chief executive officer of the Home Builders Institute, the education and training arm of the 200,000-member National Association of Home Builders.
In 1996, Riggs made the “dirty dozen” list compiled by the League of Conservation Voters for his votes cast in Washington. The Sierra Club took out TV ads opposing Riggs for his support of the use of pepper spray in the eyes of logging protesters. After leaving Washington, he became chairman of DriWater, a company that makes gel inserts for plants, dubbed Slime Balls. Slime Balls slowly release water to houseplants and crops.
Riggs is on McCain 2000’s National Steering Committee, and is the chairman of the McCain California effort, which he has spent time organizing. He is also an education and environmental adviser. He worked a little bit with McCain when the two served in Congress, but it was Riggs’ belief that McCain was “far and away the best candidate” that drew him to the senator’s cause in 2000. He describes McCain as “the right man to restore character, respect and integrity to the land.”
Riggs told the Center that John Raidt initially reached out to him, and the two met at campaign headquarters in Alexandria (where Riggs also lives). Raidt asked Riggs to put his thoughts down on paper; Riggs did, and prepared several pages on broad educational themes, such as quality improvement and educational reform. This is his first time advising a presidential candidate.
Riggs had not heard of Ed McMullen, and the only other adviser he had worked with was Lisa Graham Keegan.
Matt Hoenck, information systems manager, provided database assistance.