McCain-Palin (Davis Manafort)

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September 27, 2008 11:27 p.m.

In that Newsweek piece (noted below), which details Rick Davis’s continuing financial ties to mega-lobby firm Davis Manafort, Mike Isikoff reveals that in addition to paying Davis’s salary directly to Davis Manafort, the McCain campaign has paid almost a million dollars to 3eDC, a web development company, part owned by Davis.

That’s a decent chunk of change for web development. So TPM Reader UB looked up 3eDC’s website. And as you can see, for a firm in the business of billing $1 million for high-end design work, their own website appears to be one of those off-the-rack professional firm template sites you can by for $19.99.

I’m not saying it’s Jukt Micronics exactly. But 3eDC’s existence as an actual company seems rather thin.

Now, digging around a little, I notice that 3eDC is pretty closely tied to Davis Manafort. Not only, as Newsweek notes, does the company share an address with Davis Manafort. Last year, US News got Davis to admit that the company has two owners — Rick Davis and Paul Manafort.

And there’s a bit more. According to a July 2007 article in the Wall Street Journal, 3eDC was a “start-up … with one customer — the [McCain] campaign.” The Journal further reported that within the campaign it was understood that 3eDC was essentially a pass-through, that it had a series of other ‘partner firms’ that did the actual work.

Perhaps not surprisingly, in June, the Post’s Matthew Mosk reported that shortly after McCain took over the Republican National Committee in his role as de facto nominee, 3eDC resurfaced with its second client to date — the Republican National Committee — with a contract potentially worth as much as $3 million.

So to cycle back, how we got into all this was trying to figure out whether Rick Davis had really cut his ties with Davis Manafort. The question most people have been asking is whether Davis was still drawing a salary. What it seems like now, however, is that Davis has born poring tons of McCain campaign money back into Davis Manafort — either by having his campaign salary paid to the firm or by having huge consulting accounts set up for paper companies owned by Davis and Manafort. In either case, the question seems no longer to be whether Davis still draws a salary from Davis Manafort but whether McCain-Palin 2008 and Davis Manafort are even distinct organizations.

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