From The Hill:
Top Washington lobbyist Charlie Black is leaving his firm to join Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign.
Black, chairman of BKSH & Associates, told The Hill his resignation would be effective Monday, March 31. He will join McCain’s campaign on a full-time basis starting Tuesday.
Democrats have criticized McCain, who has fostered an image as a reformer, for his ties to lobbyists such as Black. McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, and his national finance chairman, former Rep. Tom Loeffler (R-Texas), have also lobbied.
Black is an experienced GOP operative and strategist. The North Carolina native was a senior advisor to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and has also worked with the Republican National Committee.
Let’s take a closer look at the maverick’s buddy, Charlie. From The BLT:
Charlie Black of BKSH & Associates says he contacted Senate Judiciary Committee members last year as a private citizen who wanted to let them know he had questions about the fairness of an investigation into the island’s governor, not as one of Puerto Rico’s top Washington lobbyist.
From Think Progress:
ThinkProgress recently reported on Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) long friendship with Iraqi exile leader Ahmad Chalabi, who drummed up claims that Saddam Hussein had WMD and helped lead the United States into war.
But McCain isn’t the only one on his campaign with ties to Chalabi. Charlie Black serves as McCain’s (R-AZ) chief political adviser. He is also an uber-lobbyist, “chairman of one of Washington’s lobbying powerhouses,” BKSH and Associates.
Black and BKSH represented Chalabi’s former group, the Iraqi National Congress, giving the Iraqi politician access to high-powered officials in Washington. Chalabi even scored a seat in First Lady Laura Bush’s VIP box at the 2004 SOTU address. This connection has also helped Black, who “touted” his ties to Chalabi to get work in Iraq:
This PR paid off. In 2005, BKSH was hired by The Lincoln Group, which had a federal government contract to secretly pay Iraqi newspapers “to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.”
BKSH helped sell this misguided war to the American public.
From Mother Jones:
John McCain’s primary defender in the Lady Lobbyist Scandal* is a man named Charlie Black. As a senior adviser to the campaign who is doing McCain’s damage control right now, Black has to explain to the press that John McCain didn’t have a romantic relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, didn’t treat Iseman’s clients with undue favoritism, and isn’t too close to lobbyists in general despite his years of anti-lobbyist rhetoric.
At the link to Mother Jones, you will find a long list of corporations BKSH has worked for since 1998. The total value of the contracts was (are you sitting down, kids?) $57,426,252.