ABC News’ Jan Simmonds reports: Two of Sen. John McCain’ campaign aides resigned this weekend after media reports brought to light their ties to a lobbying group that once represented the military junta of Burma, which the regime calls Myanmar.
The aides, Douglas Goodyear, who was tapped as the GOP Convention Coordinator, and Doug Davenport, a regional manager focusing on the mid-Atlantic states, both worked for DCI. The firm was hired in 2002 to represent Burma’s military junta to try to begin a dialogue of political reconciliation with the United States.
The Burmese government has been strongly condemned by the State Department for its human rights record and has in recent days aroused an international outcry for its handling of the relief efforts in wake of a cyclone that according Oxfam could eventually claim 1.5 million lives if food, clean water and medical supplies are not rushed in to the devastated region. Relief agencies and governments that have offered assistance, including the United States, say the regime has frustrated their attempts to help the survivors of the disaster, tying up visa applications for aide workers in bureaucratic red tape and not allowing shipments of food and medical supplies into the country.
In a statement released yesterday, Goodyear said he was stepping down so he did not "become a distraction in this campaign," noting that he continues to "strongly support John McCain for president."
In an interview with Newsweek before his resignation, Goodyear explained that DCI’s work for Burma was the group’s only foreign representation and only "for a short tenure." Goodyear also added that he thought the junta’s record in the current cyclone crisis is "reprehensible."
The McCain campaign today confirmed Davenport’s resignation, which he also tendered today. No statement from Davenport has been released.