John McCain's chief foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, is known for his aggressive posture on foreign policy, having served as an architect of the Iraq war and, more recently, a fierce supporter of and lobbyist for the former Soviet nation of Georgia.
But apparently he takes the notion of cowboy diplomacy to a new level. A Democratic source tipped off the Huffington Post that back in 1997, when he was serving as a top adviser to Sen. Trent Lott, Scheunemann was arrested by Capitol Hill police for a gun violation.
According to a Washington Times article from February 1997, Scheunemann was spotted by a police unit with a shotgun case through the window of his car. They stopped him to ask if the case contained an actual gun. It did. Moreover, Scheunemann had several rounds of ammunition as well.
"The congressional aide was arrested, taken to police headquarters, fingerprinted and charged with possession of an unregistered firearm (an unloaded 12-gauge) and unregistered ammunition (two rounds)," the story went. Scheunemann, who would spend several hours in jail before his release, would eventually plead guilty to a lesser charge and pay a $500 fine.
The McCain campaign declined to comment.
The episode should have scant political relevance today considering that, among other things, Scheunemann went on to lobby for the NRA, is of a political party that stridently defends gun ownership, and that other Senate hands -- notably, an aide to Democrat Jim Webb -- have also been arrested for illegally bringing firearms onto congressional property.
Indeed, as TPM's Josh Marshall has been hammering home for weeks, of far greater controversy is the role Scheunemann played in "lobbying, plotting and organizing campaigns of deception that led America to war in Iraq."
Nevertheless, for a guy who will have a huge hand in crafting foreign policy should McCain win the White House, a past firearm arrest, no matter how long ago, counts as news.