For friends and foes of Sen. John McCain, a mystery lingers nearly two weeks after his campaign shake-up: Given the budgetary crisis that triggered the upheaval, why did he choose the adviser formerly most responsible for campaign finances to right the ship?
Rick Davis, a lobbyist, McCain confidant and now the Arizona Republican's campaign manager, had more to do with budgeting, fund raising and spending than any individual, in his prior role as chief executive officer, current and former McCain advisers say.
Moreover, they say, Mr. Davis stood to benefit from campaign expenditures to an Internet-services company he formed with lobbying partner Paul Manafort. And he steered campaign funds to another company owned by a lobbyist-friend's client, an Indian-casino developer. In that case, campaign colleagues objected about what they saw as an unorthodox arrangement potentially embarrassing to Mr. McCain, who had been a Senate investigator of scandals involving Indian casinos.
It appears this arrangement was one of the things that angered other McCain staffers, and may have ultimately lead to the recent mass exodus.
One Republican operative told me: "Well that explains why Rick didn't think TV was necessary for the campaign -- because he was already making money from his other companies."