McCain tied to lobbyist for Trans Texas Corridor, toll roads

Link to article here.

The Loeffler Tuggey (et al) law firm represents Zachry Construction, the major toll road player in Texas who partnered with Cintra to win the development rights to the Trans Texas Corridor and landed the first privatized toll road contract in Texas for SH 130. So the connection to McCain is clear just as it was with Giuliani before him.

A Top McCain Aide Quits
Departure Over Ties To Lobbying Group Is Fourth in 2 Weeks
May 19, 2008

The McCain campaign lost another top aide Sunday over ties to lobbying, the fourth such departure in less than two weeks.

Thomas Loeffler, a former U.S. representative from Texas, resigned from his post as a national finance committee and campaign co-chairman, a campaign spokesman confirmed Sunday.

Mr. Loeffler is the founder of The Loeffler Group, a San Antonio lobbying shop that has worked on behalf of AT&T Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. as well as foreign interests, including Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Loeffler’s resignation continues the fallout from a new policy that John McCain, the likely Republican nominee, instituted last week requiring full disclosure of involvement with lobbying firms and other independent political groups.

The policy bans staffers and aides from being registered lobbyists or working on behalf of foreign interests. It allows unpaid volunteers to continue as registered lobbyists as long as they disclose those interests and don’t lobby or advise Sen. McCain on behalf of those interests.

Although Mr. Loeffler qualified under the latter terms, his high rank at the campaign forced him to make a decision, said Charlie Black, a senior aide to Sen. McCain and a former lobbyist.

“Senior staff people cannot be registered to lobby,” said Mr. Black. Mr. Loeffler didn’t answer requests for comment.

Mr. Black severed his ties to the lobbying firm BKSH & Associates Worldwide this year. Campaign manager Rick Davis still owns a stake in his lobbying organization, Davis Manafort Inc., but is no longer paid by the firm.

“Everybody’s making decisions to see if they can live with [the new policy],” said Mark Salter, a senior McCain adviser.

Mr. Loeffler’s resignation follows that of three other advisers. Doug Goodyear and Doug Davenport left on May 10 and 11, respectively, because of their involvement with DCI Group, a firm that once worked for Myanmar’s military junta. Last week, Eric Burgeson, a McCain adviser on energy policy, was jettisoned from the campaign because he was a registered lobbyist on the same topic.

Mr. Loeffler’s departure is arguably the most significant because of his reputation as a successful fund-raiser. He was named to his finance-committee position in December 2006 and is credited with helping the campaign limp through its cash-strapped implosion last summer.

Mr. Loeffler has a long history with Republican presidential campaigns. He served as Texas co-chairman for former President George H.W. Bush in 1988 and was national deputy finance chairman for Bob Dole’s failed bid in 1996. Mr. Loeffler was also a major fund-raiser for the current President Bush, serving as a “Pioneer” in 2000 and a “Super-Ranger” in 2004, meaning he raised more than $100,000 and more than $300,000, respectively, in those elections.

In a release dated March 8, 2007, that announced Mr. Loeffler’s position of general chairman of the campaign, Sen. McCain called Mr. Loeffler “a good friend” and said he would play a “very important role in our campaign.”

The policy, dubbed “McCain Campaign Conflict Policy,” was made mandatory last week after questions arose about the ties to lobbying firms by staff and volunteers.

The policy also bans involvement with so-called 527s — independent groups named for a section of the tax code that are able to accept limitless donations — and other such groups.