MCCAIN TAPS LOBBYIST FOR TRANSITION…. This is interesting for a couple of reasons.

A prominent Washington lobbyist who has worked for every Republican President since Richard Nixon has been tapped by the McCain campaign to conduct a study in preparation for the presidential transition should John McCain win the election, according to sources familiar with the process.

William E. Timmons Sr. is a Washington institution, having worked in the Nixon and Ford administrations as an aide for congressional relations and having assisted the transition teams of both Ronald Reagan in 1980 and George W. Bush in 2000…. Timmons is the chairman emeritus of Timmons and Company, a small but influential lobbying firm he founded in 1975 shortly after leaving the White House. According to Senate records, he registered to lobby in 2008 for a wide range of companies and trade groups, including the American Petroleum Institute, the American Medical Association, Chrysler, Freddie Mac, Visa USA and Anheuser-Busch.

His registrations include work on a number of issues that have become flashpoints in the presidential campaign. He has registered to work on bills that deal with the regulations of troubled mortgage lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, a bill to provide farm subsidies and bills that regulate domestic oil-drilling.

First, it seems that whenever McCain needs someone for a key public responsibility, he turns to a powerful corporate lobbyist with controversial clients. Remember all of McCain’s rhetoric about standing up to the lobbyists? Neither do I.

And second, when the Obama campaign recently put together its own transition team — a standard procedure for presidential candidates from both parties for decades — Republicans went berserk. The McCain campaign accused Obama of “already dancing in the end zone with a new White House transition team.” Fox News reported that organizing a transition team before an election has “never been done before.”

They were, of course, lying, and now McCain is doing precisely what he criticized Obama for doing.


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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.