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McCain Adviser Still Officer At Lobby Firm

In the embarrassment that just won’t go away, Newsweek reports that McCain campaign manager Rick Davis — despite numerous comments to the contrary — remains an officer at the lobbying firm that bears his name, Davis Manafort.

Rick Davis, John McCain’s campaign manager, has remained the treasurer and a corporate director of his lobbying firm this year, despite repeated statements by campaign officials that he had ended his relationship with the firm in 2006, according to corporate records.

The McCain campaign this week criticized news stories disclosing that, since 2006, Davis’s firm has been paid a $15,000-a-month consulting fee from Freddie Mac, the troubled mortgage giant recently put under federal conservatorship. The stories, published Tuesday by NEWSWEEK, The New York Times and Roll Call, reported that the consulting fees continued until last month even though, according to two sources familiar with the arrangement, neither Davis nor anybody else at his firm did any substantial work for the payments.

Stefanie Mullin, a spokesperson for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which has taken over Freddie Mac and its sister entity Fannie Mae, confirmed Wednesday that the Davis Manafort contract is being terminated. “All lobbying activity has stopped and political consulting contracts at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in the process of being terminated,” said Mullin.

The McCain campaign twice lashed out at The New York Times for being a “partisan paper” that is “in the tank” for Sen. Barack Obama.

It is now clear that one of two things is true: either Sen. John McCain himself lied when he said Davis “had nothing to do” with lobbying for the mortgage industry; or Davis lied to McCain about his activities.

Either way, Davis is becoming a major liability for the campaign. The two men have longstanding ties — Davis headed McCain’s presidential campaign in 2000 — so it won’t be easy for McCain to toss him under the bus.

But with these revelations coming at such a rapid pace — three so far this week — McCain will have to address his Davis problem at some point.

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