Sunday, May 11

THE SORT OF APPOINTEES YOU CAN EXPECT IF MCCAIN WINS

POLITICO The PR executive John McCain just tapped to help run the GOP convention quit today after a report that his firm once represented the Burmese junta that is now doing little to relieve its people from the devastation incurred by this week’s cyclone. Doug Goodyear, CEO of the DCI Group, said in a statement issued by the convention committee that he was resigning "so as not to become a distraction in this campaign.”

EARLIER NEWSWEEK STORY Some allies worry that Goodyear's selection could fuel perceptions that McCain-who has portrayed himself as a crusader against special interests-is surrounded by lobbyists. Goodyear is CEO of DCI Group, a consulting firm that earned $3 million last year lobbying for ExxonMobil, General Motors and other clients.

Potentially more problematic: the firm was paid $348,000 in 2002 to represent Burma's military junta, which had been strongly condemned by the State Department for its human-rights record and remains in power today. Justice Department lobbying records show DCI pushed to "begin a dialogue of political reconciliation" with the regime. It also led a PR campaign to burnish the junta's image, drafting releases praising Burma's efforts to curb the drug trade and denouncing "falsehoods" by the Bush administration that the regime engaged in rape and other abuses. . .

Another issue: DCI has been a pioneer in running "independent" expenditure campaigns by so–called 527 groups, precisely the kind of operations that McCain, in his battle for campaign-finance reform, has denounced. . .

Ironically, Goodyear was chosen for the post after the McCain campaign nixed another candidate, Paul Manafort, who runs a lobbying firm with McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis. The prospect of choosing Manafort created anxiety in the campaign because of his long history of representing controversial foreign clients, including Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. More recently, he served as chief political consultant to Viktor Yanukovich, the former Ukrainian prime minister who has been widely criticized for alleged corruption and for his close ties to Russia's Vladimir Putin-a potential embarrassment for McCain, who in 2007 called Putin a "totalitarian dictator."