McCain’s campaign strategist Randy Scheunemann was a lobbyist for Georgia until recently, and remained part of Orion Strategies until May 15. OS had signed a $2 mn. deal to provide “strategic advice” to the Georgian government.
Update: Bob Scheer entertains dark suspicions that Scheunemann, a leader of the Neoconservative Project for theNew American Century, put Saakashvili up to provoking Russia in hopes of providing the Republican Party with a foreign policy crisis to run on.
Can’t put anything past the PNAC folks, who are the sleaziest political operators in American history (and that’s saying a mouthful). But I can’t see the percentage for Saakashvili taking a chance like this, for the sake of a candidate who might well lose.
Bad as it is to have paid lobbyists for foreign powers running presidential campaigns, it is even worse (because less transparent) to have de facto lobbyists for foreign governments (or wannabe governments) influential in presidential campaigns. Think about Ahmad Chalabi.
At least we’re talking about Scheunemann, now. McCain’s connections to Chalabi in 1999 were not public.