Waste Not, Want Not for Friends on the Campaign Trail

After top campaign aides resigned over unsavory lobbying activities, Republican presidential candidate John McCain "adopted a five-point policy ... to help restore his reputation as a Washington reformer," reports the Wall Street Journal. The policy bans working for groups critical of his likely opponent, Barack Obama, a point that led McCain advisers Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman to resign from the Vets for Freedom advisory board. Now there are questions about Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), a non-profit whose lobbying arm and political action committee have long supported McCain. After McCain was "hammered for supporting the Air Force's February decision to award a $40 billion contract for refueling tankers to Northrop Grumman and its European partner," the McCain campaign called CAGW. CAGW then worked "with Northrop and one of its consultants to produce a vitriolic advertising campaign defending the tanker deal," reports the Washington Post. The ads don't mention McCain, but offered "indirect support ... on a highly controversial issue while costing his campaign nothing." CAGW has previously come under scrutiny. A Senate investigation of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff found "a pattern of CAGW producing public relations materials favorable to Mr. Abramoff's clients," allegedly in exchange for donations to the group.