ST. PAUL, MINN — . -- The man picked by the John McCain campaign to run the 2008 Republican National Convention resigned Saturday after a report that his lobbying firm used to represent the military regime in Myanmar.
Doug Goodyear resigned as coordinator of the Twin Cities convention and issued a two-sentence statement:
"Today I offered the convention my resignation so as not to become a distraction in this campaign. I continue to strongly support John McCain for president, and wish him the best of luck in this campaign."
Goodyear, chief executive of the lobbying firm DCI Group, resigned a few hours after Newsweek posted a report online saying the company was paid $348,000 in 2002 to represent the government in Myanmar, also known as Burma.
"We respect Mr. Goodyear's decision and look forward to the convention in September," said Brian Rogers, a spokesman for the McCain campaign.
Justice Department records covering foreign agents that are required to register with the U.S. government show that DCI signed a contract to work to "improve relations between the United States and Myanmar" and to act as the military regime's public relations agent in Washington.
Governments and rights groups have harshly criticized the Myanmar regime's response to Tropical Cyclone Nargis, which has killed tens of thousands of people and has severely affected an estimated 1.5 million.
Less than a year ago, the regime brutally suppressed demonstrations led by Buddhist monks that had begun peacefully. At least 31 people were killed in the crackdown.