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McCain’s Cronies: Trouble In Paradise For Rick Davis? Conflict Or Gag Order?

Is there trouble in paradise for McCain campaign manager, uber-lobbyist Rick Davis? Or did someone issue a gag order for Davis? Lynn Sweet says Davis is a no-show for a press luncheon today:

…Rick Davis–under the spotlight because of his work for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–is skipping a Wednesday lunch with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. 

On Tuesday, word came that McCain political director Mike DuHaime will substitute for Davis because he is "heading out on the trail" today.

"Heading out on the trail"? Is that what they call "getting reamed out in person for publicly lying and getting caught" these days?

Since the McCain campaign official statement denies that Davis was "lobbying," perhaps McCain can explain why Freddie Mac agreed to monthly payments of $15,000 per invoice which Davis personally requested from them?  

What exactly was Mr. Davis doing to earn this "fee?"

As Ben Smith points out, McCain issued a non-denial which fails to address "the $15,000 monthly payments from Freddie Mac, which began while Davis was still running the firm." Further, McCain fails to explain whether he knew about them, approved Davis’ role in securing them, and how that squares with McCain’s snippy call for reporters to look into Davis’ lobbying ties.

Worse, McCain fails to reconcile this with the memo Davis sent out to McCain’s campaign staff back in May which called for a re-vetting of McCain’s staff because of cronyism and self-dealing lobbying concerns which called for firing anyone who failed to disclose potential conflicts.  Was there a re-vetting of Davis?  Were these Freddie Mac payments not disclosed?  If so, will Davis be fired?  

Or, if McCain knew, what was his opinion of this influence buying payola?  Because given Davis’ role as a named principal of Davis Manafort — yes, that’s his name first, and he’s only "on leave" from his lobbying firm — it’s inane to think a financial benefit doesn’t accrue for business Davis expressly solicited.

Further, perhaps McCain could kindly explain why he forked over $30,000 to Davis Manafort as of the April quarterly FEC filing.

I’ve asked several people with accounting backgrounds, and uniformly I’m told that the entity issuing the invoice is the one annotated for payment as the "payee," so that the "payor" (in this case, the McCain campaign itself) can keep a running track of who has requested payment and for what. Had it been a reimbursement voucher submitted by Davis, the annotation would have been to "Richard Davis," as every subsequent payee notation indicates.

So, why the anomalous payment to Davis Manafort? Inquiring minds and all that.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com