Is McCain surrounded ENTIRELY by crooks?

Lindsay Beyersteinn explodes a ton of dynamite under the McCain campaign: Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s foreign policy adviser, was involved in an influence-peddling scheme aimed at oil-rich Central Asian tyrannies, and involving the guy who just got caught selling access to officials for donations to the Bush library.

What do you get if you cross an influence-peddler with a war profiteer?

According to Lindsay Beyerstein of Majikthise, you get John McCain’s senior foreign policy adviser. It’s about as ugly a story as you can imagine, with Scheunemann’s cronies bragging to potential investors that his role in getting us bogged down in Iraq gives him such strong influence with the U.S. government that the various ‘stans will give oil leases on concessional terms in order to have that influence working for them. One of his co-perpetrators Stephen Payne, the Bush fundraiser whom Bush put on the Homeland Security Advisory Council who just got caught selling access to U.S. officials for donations to the Bush library.

In a just world, this would be the end for McCain. He’s now had to dump his chief economic adviser and two spiritual advisers in a row, as well as assorted crooked lobbyists and hangers-on. This raises real questions about his judgment.

But since the story is slightly complicated (not that it can’t be told straightforwardly, but it has several moving parts), doesn’t involve anyone black, wasn’t dug up by a mainstream media outlet, and won’t be pumped by Matt Drudge or his mini-me Mark Halperin, it’s likely to sink without a trace.

Some Congressional hearings on Payne and his buddies, with Scheunemann called as a witness, might change that. But don’t hold your breath.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: