McCain Ousts Consultant Over Conflict of Interest

He also worked for tax-exempt 527 group
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2008 10:35 AM CDT
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., acknowledges supporters, Thursday, May 15, 2008, in Columbus, Ohio.    (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
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(Newser) – The McCain campaign gave the boot to veteran conservative consultant yesterday after it came to light that he also was a paid consultant for a tax-exempt political group designed to attack Democratic candidates, Politico reports. The campaign says it never coordinated its activities with the so-called 527 group—which would be against FEC rules—and set a new policy barring any further cross-pollination.

The consultant, Craig Shirley, has been involved in some of the nastiest attacks ever, including the “Stolen Honor” movie against John Kerry and the “Willie Horton” ads against Michael Dukakis. There’s no evidence his current group coordinated with McCain, but “the question is why a campaign would want to run that risk,” said one election law specialist, “especially a campaign like McCain’s that tries to put itself out there as…opposing 527s.”