McCain's campaign co-chair also tied to disgraced Stephen Payne
Fred Zeidman, a McCain campaign co-chair and on of the candidate's top fundraisers, is listed as a member of the advisory board of Worldwide Strategic Energy in a pre-prospectus memo circulated in 2007. [Click on thumbnail to view his bio from the WSE pre-prospectus.]
Zeidman is an elite Bush fundraiser. Like Stephen Payne and Jack Abramoff, Zeidman was a Bush Pioneer in 2004. Zeidman apparently improved over his 2000 performance where he didn't quite raise the $100,000 required for full-fledged Pioneer status.
Bush appointed him to head the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2002 and reappointed him in 2007. Ziedman has accompanied the president abroad on official trips. In 2003, he accompanied Tom DeLay to Israel.
In 2006, Bush appointed Fred's son Jay Zeidman to the post of White House Liaison to the Jewish Community. Zeidman fils left that position in 2007 for a stint with the McCain campaign.
Zeidman pere initially backed Rudy Giuliani, now of Bracewell Guiliani (WSE's official law firm). He later switched his allegiance to McCain. Now he co-chairs the GOP's 2008 Victory Jewish Coalition with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va).
Zeidman is senior director of government affairs at Jack Abramoff's old law firm, Greenberg Traurig. Abramoff resigned as director of government affairs in 2004 and Zeidman joined the firm shortly thereafter. Oddly, a search of Open Secrets suggests that Zeidman had never registered to lobby the federal government before he joined Greenberg Traurig's Washington practice.
One of Worldwide Strategic Energy's main business projects is to obtain oil and gas leases in near the Caspian Sea. McCain adviser Randy Scheuneman lobbied for the Caspian Alliance, a WSE subsidiary. It just so happens that Zeidman was recently appointed to the board of Transmeridian Exploration Incorporated dedicated to oil and gas exploration in the Caspian region. TMEI's headquarters are located in the same Houston building as WSE's headquarters at 5847 San Felipe Plaza.
[Original reporting, please credit Lindsay Beyerstein.]