Randy Scheunemann

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Randy Scheunemann
Randall James Scheunemann

(1960-01-12) January 12, 1960 (age 59)
Alma materUniversity of Minnesota, Twin

Tufts University
Political partyRepublican

Randall James "Randy" Scheunemann[1] (born January 12, 1960) is an American neoconservative lobbyist. He is the President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which was created by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), of which he is a board member. He was Trent Lott's National Security Aide and was an advisor to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Iraq. He is a paid lobbyist for the country of Georgia and was 2008 presidential candidate John McCain's foreign policy aide.


Scheunemann moved with his parents to the neighborhood of River Hills, in Burnsville, Minnesota in 1965.

  • Father: Paul Scheunemann, born 1926, died 2003. Mayor of Burnsville 1978-1982. Stricken with polio at age 15; used a wheelchair thereafter.[2]
  • Mother: Gladys (Olson), born 1932, died 2000

Education and early career[edit]

Scheunemann attended public school in Burnsville, Minnesota: Sioux Trail elementary school (1966–1972), John Metcalf Junior High School (1972–1975) and finally Burnsville High School (1975–1978) from which he graduated in 1978.

Scheunemann has a degree from the University of Minnesota, and did graduate work at Tufts University. He moved to Capitol Hill in 1986, working in the office of Republican Senator Dave Durenberger. In 1993, he moved onto the staff of Republican Senator Bob Dole, as a foreign policy advisor. He left Dole's staff to work for Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.[3]


In 1998, Scheunemann went to work for the public relations firm Mercury Group.[3]

During the 2002 and early 2003 campaign by the George W. Bush administration to generate public support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Scheunemann had a close association with Iraq exile Ahmad Chalabi.[4][5]

Until May 2008, Scheunemann was co-owner of a two-person Washington, D.C. lobbying firm, Orion Strategies, LLC.[6] The firm has lobbied on behalf of the Open Society Policy Center, the Caspian Alliance, Lockheed Martin, BP, and the National Rifle Association, among foreign governments such as Latvia, Taiwan, Croatia, and Macedonia.[7]

He is a member of the board of directors of the International Republican Institute.[8]

2008 McCain presidential advisor[edit]

While the foreign affairs advisor to Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Scheunemann was also a registered foreign agent (lobbyist) for the Republic of Georgia.[9][10]

On April 17, 2008, McCain spoke on the phone with Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili about the situation in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two troubled provinces that are considered part of Georgia but have been de facto independent since 1990. That same day, McCain issued a public statement condemning Russia and expressing strong support for the Georgian position. Also on that same day, Georgia signed a new, $200,000 lobbying contract with Scheunemann's firm, Orion Strategies. Scheunemann remained with Orion Strategies until May 15, when the McCain campaign imposed an anti-lobbyist policy and he was required to separate himself from the company.[11]

In mid-July 2008, The Sunday Times linked Scheunemann to Stephen Payne, a lobbyist covertly filmed as he discussed a lobbying contract and offered to arrange meetings with Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and others, and recommended donations to the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Payne said Scheunemann had been "working with me on my payroll for five of the last eight years." [12]

A day after the election, a CNN article claimed that Scheunemann had been fired by the McCain campaign a week earlier for "trashing" campaign staff and "positioning himself with Palin at the expense of John McCain's campaign message." [13] A later article, however, stated that Scheunemann had not been fired, but that many of McCain's top staff wanted him fired and removed his access to his campaign email and Blackberry.[14]

After 2008[edit]

Scheunemann has been focusing on his consulting firm called Orion Strategies,[15] not to be confused with the strategic communications firm Orion Strategies that is based out of West Virginia.

See also[edit]

DodgerBlue flag waving.svg Conservatism portal


  1. ^ http://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/handle/11299/57614/1984-commencement.pdf?sequence=1
  2. ^ http://archives.ecmpublishers.info/static/TWL/2003/november/13bvmayrdies.html
  3. ^ a b John Bresnahan (November 2, 1998). "Lott Foreign Policy Adviser Decides to Leave". Roll Call.
  4. ^ Marshall, Josh (July 14, 2008). "Do Your Job: Stop Ignoring Scheunemann's Past". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
  5. ^ Bumiller, Elisabeth (October 19, 2008). "Powell's Endorsement Puts Spotlight on His Legacy". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  6. ^ http://www.manta.com/coms2/dnbcompany_754jc
  7. ^ Lobbying Disclosure Act Database
  8. ^ International Republican Institute web site, accessed July 16, 2010. Archived April 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Meier, Barry and Kate Zernike (May 20, 2008). McCain Finds a Thorny Path in Ethics Effort Archived 2008-12-11 at the Wayback Machine. New York Times.
  10. ^ Kelly, Matt (May 20, 2008). McCain adviser's work as lobbyist comes to light Archived 2011-10-21 at the Wayback Machine. USA Today.
  11. ^ Matthew Mosk and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, "While Aide Advised McCain, His Firm Lobbied for Georgia: Campaign Dismisses Timing of Phone Call, Contract" Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine, Washington Post, August 13, 2008
  12. ^ Daniel Foggo and Steven Swinford, "President Bush lobbyist Stephen Payne in ‘bribes’ row quits: Cash for access at the White House is under scrutiny by Congress" Archived 2008-08-13 at the Wayback Machine, The Sunday Times, July 20, 2008
  13. ^ "Sources: McCain aide fired for 'trashing' staff". CNN. November 5, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  14. ^ "McCain aide disputes sources, denies firing". CNN. November 6, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  15. ^ "Scheunemann advising Palin for 'wide-ranging' Hong Kong talk". Politico. Retrieved November 12, 2010.

External links[edit]