Top McCain Aide Lobbied for Pro-Russian Foreign Politicians

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I know, I know, its hard to keep John McCain’s lobbyists-turned-top-advisers straight. There’s chief campaign strategist Charlie Black, who lobbied for dictators in the ’80s and just about everyone else since. There’s campaign manager Rick Davis, who headed a lobbying organization for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for years and was still on Freddie’s payroll as late as August 2008. There’s top foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann, who has lobbied for Latvia, Macedonia, Georgia, and Taiwan. (And there’s 83 others who lobbied for Wall Street before and during the financial crisis.)

But National Journal has a new one for you. Christian Ferry, McCain’s deputy campaign manager and Rick Davis’s #2 man, has worked for some nasty characters:

Starting as a driver for Davis, Ferry worked his way up and was assigned key responsibilities for some of the firm’s foreign clients. They included a political party in Montenegro and a political leader in Ukraine, both backed by wealthy businessmen and oligarchs who sought to sway the outcome of elections in 2006 in those two nations…

In Ukraine, Ferry was part of a Davis Manafort team that advised Victor Yanukovich, the country’s then-prime minister, whose pro-Russian party made gains in the 2006 parliamentary elections. (In 2004, Yanukovich lost to the U.S.-backed candidate, Victor Yushchenko, in a hotly contested presidential race.)

So Ferry was lobbying for the guy the American government opposed. And now he’s one step away from a man running for president. National Journal gets the key quote from Larry Wilkerson, former top aide to one-time Secretary of State Colin Powell.

“When you take central advice from people who have advocated for foreign interests not necessarily congruent with American interests, it’s really naive to assume that the advice you’re receiving is not influenced by their previous work.”

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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