Oh, look whose lobbyist crony connections have come home to roost. Welcome to the spotlight, Sen. McCain:

Campaign Money Watch has a new petition up:

John McCain’s campaign relies on well-heeled Washington lobbyists to run and raise money for his White House bid. In fact, he’s relying on at least 112 lobbyists as staff or fundraisers, including at least ten who represent brutal dictators, human rights abusers, and other unsavory foreign interests.

They are calling on John McCain to fire three lobbyists in particular: Charlie Black (McCain’s senior counsel and spokesman), Tom Loeffler (McCain’s national co-chairman), and Peter Madigan (a leading fundraiser).

Senator McCain has previously stated, “I will demand that people serve their country first and the special interests second.” Yet, the three lobbyists listed above together have taken in a whopping $16 million to advocate on behalf of foreign governments, often from dictators like Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos, Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire, Nigeria’ Ibrahim Babangida, and Angolan rebel and “classical terrorist” Jonas Savimbi. They have also worked for the repressive regimes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

There is no separation between campaign work and lobbying in McCain’s world. Charlie Black has made lobbying calls from onboard John McCain’s campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express. Tom Loeffler, who set up high level meetings between Saudi Arabia and White House officials like Karl Rove and George Bush, has said he will continue to handle “all the work” for the lobbying firm he founded while working on the McCain campaign. Saudi Arabia has played a key role in fostering Islamic terrorism and has received over $40 billion in U.S. weapons over the last few years.

All this begs the question: Who do the people who run the McCain campaign really serve – the United States of America or their foreign paymasters?

Maverick, my ass. K Street old bosses of the GOP, meet the K Street new bosses of the GOP. Just like the George Bush years…now with more cronies!

You can sign the petition here. And more information here. Plus, Media Matters has this handy interactive chart of all of McCain’s lobbyist cronies. Sweet!

(YouTube from the fine folks at Brave New Films. Classic!)