McCain Campaign Manager’s Firm Worked for Ukranian Billionaire with Ties to Iran

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Before Rick Davis began serving as John McCain’s campaign manager, his lobbying firm had a pretty cosmopolitan set of clients.

For example, Ukranian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, who has several business links to Iran.

To be sure, there’s a good crowd of lobbyists in Washington who work for international firms with ties to Iran.

But Davis isn’t just any lobbyist. He’s a lobbyist-turn-presidential campaign manager who just a couple weeks ago was drawing up rules on how to build a wall between lobbyists and McCain’s political operatives. And McCain has been more hawkish than most of his colleagues about confronting Iran.

And, interestingly, Davis’ lobbying shop, Davis Manafort, was doing work for the Ukranian oligarch about the same time that Davis was serving as the president of McCain’s Reform Institute.

Davis Manafort was helping Akhmetov’s conglomerate, System Capital Management Holdings, to develop a “corporate communications strategy” between the beginging of 2005 through the end of summer 2005, the company said.

The company’s subsidiary, Metinvest, a steel company, has one of its 11 offices in Tehran. And another subsidiary, Khartsyzsk Pipe Plant, sells large pipes to Iran.

Those business ties go back to at least 2005, when Davis Manafort was working for the company, according to a handful of stories in business publications like the Russia & CIS Metals and Mining Weekly and the Mining and the Metals report, which we found on Nexis.

A McCain aide told us Davis did not work on that account while he was heading up the firm. And he was unaware of the company’s ties to Iran.