February 20, 2008

McCain's corrupt relationship with female lobbyist

Breaking in the NY Times:

Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, in his offices and aboard a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s clients, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.

Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.

It had been just a decade since an official favor for a friend with regulatory problems had nearly ended Mr. McCain’s political career by ensnaring him in the Keating Five scandal. In the years that followed, he reinvented himself as the scourge of special interests, a crusader for stricter ethics and campaign finance rules, a man of honor chastened by a brush with shame.


This is from nearly 10 years ago, apparently, but it certainly ties McCain in to the Republican culture of corruption, including the matter of his being a member of the notorious "Keating 5" in the past, a giant ethical blot on his record that has been largely unmentioned until now. (McCain is the only member of the Keating 5 still in congress.)

While some will charge scandal mongering, I look at the piece as a sort of "Meet your Candidate" sort of pulic service. The article in the New York Times provides a thorough background on McCain's involvement in his relationship with this lobbyist, as well as his past background involving scandal and attempts at playing the reformer.

McCain, old, grizzled, mired in the dubious ethics of D.C. and incestuous relationships with lobbyists, promising more war and less jobs, and a grim march into a grim future, vs. Barack Obama.

I'll take that match-up any day.

10 Comments:

At 2/21/2008 12:04 PM, Blogger UMRBlog said...

I wrote about this yesterday in UMRBlog. I think there is a substantial chance it helps him two ways.

One is it imbues him with vigor, like happened with Boris Yeltsin: "Well, if he's still horny, he's maybe not as feeble as I thought he was."

Two is "The enemy of my enemy is my friend: if the NYT hates him, he must be all right." This among religious and fiscal righties both.

Finally, After Rather/Maples, don't you think it likely that the NYT is rather well sourced on this? The sources may be anonymous, but I'll bet they're tied down very tightly.

Oh, and for a bonus question: Does anybody else think it's funny that this comes out a week after Johnny Mac's campaign manager said he'd resign, rather than have to oppose Barack Obama? What a coincidence that the last piece of sourcing falls into place so soon after the epiphany of conscience hits the ultimate McCain insider.

But, that's just my warmup take.

Continued success.

 
At 2/21/2008 12:16 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I find the frantic right wing response to this to be telling. They're throwing out everything they can dream up, attacking the messenger, attacking the timing, supposing people's motives.

But cutting through all that noise which is just that, noise, I think an objective reader has to agree with Jim Warren, the editor of the Chicago Tribune when he notes a few facts that seems to prove there's something there.

The McCain aide who was quoted on the record in the story as saying that it got to the point where he had to schedule a meeting with this female lobbyist to tell her flat out to stay away from McCain.

He notes that this guy was incredibly loyal to McCain, and was a very experienced guy who knew very well that politicians meet with lobbyists all the time.

So for things to get to the point where this guy felt that he had to take the extrordinary step of meeting with this female lobbyist to essentially ban her from contact with McCain certainly shows there was something that made them think there was something going on which could blow McCain out of the water.

Why else would he make such a move?

This isn't some "unnamed source", this was a guy who was quoted on the record.

As to the timing, I think it's clear that the Times wasn't out to cause maximum damage to McCain, or else they obviously would have held on to this until a much later date, perhaps during the general election.

It's also been reported that this story has been an open secret among insiders for months, at least since December, and that the Times has waited this long until they were completely sure of their story.

And to any moron who suggests that people are assuming that anyone is saying that McCain had a sexual relationship with this woman, I'd point out that it's only THEY who are making that point.

Unlike the insane attempt to spend millions to get dirt poor women to dream up stories about Bil Clinton, and trying to argue to this day that any trailer trash that said they had sex with him must be telling the truth, no matter how impossible it was, I've heard not one Dem or liberal try to state that there was a sexual relationship between this lobbyist and McCain.

If this was Obama, you can bet every dime you could beg borrow or steal that they'd be trumpeting from the rooftops that Obama had had sex with a woman as if it were established fact.

Everyone knows that. The right lies like most people breath.

But no one is trying to say anything more than what this story establishes, and that is that McCain had such a "close" relationship with this woman, who represented telecom corporations with legislation before McCain's committee, that they felt the need to try to end it before it blew up in McCain's face.

What does that tell you?

 
At 2/21/2008 12:24 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

UMR,

Your two "plusses" are valid, though I sure don't think they outweigh the negatives.

Scapegoating and stereotyping the Times will likely galvanize the rabid right, but then again, so what? These people are still trying to suggest Hillary had Vince Foster murdered. They're ignorant fools with no use for facts who will always vote for a Republican. (that's almost a requirement, isn't it?)

I'd only make one small correction to your noting the guy who supports McCain and has worked for his campaign but has announced that if it turns out to be McCain vs. Obama, he'll sit out the campaign.

The guy is Mark McKinnon, who isn't McCain's campaign manager, but rather is a big-money PR guy who used to work for Dems but flipped to work on Bush's campaigns.

Being an insider's insider, McKinnon is well aware of how the Republicans operate in the media and just how willing they are to lie and smear and rely on disinformation and disgusting negative attacks.

Hell, McKinnon himself helped do it for Bush, and that alone is probably eating away at his conscience.

Knowing as McKinnon does, the inevitable dirty, nasty lying efforts that will be employed against Obama, he simply realized he couldn't possibly be associated with it, despite turning his back on many millions of dollars, and still live with himself.

 
At 2/21/2008 4:09 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Now that the righties have mounted their full-court press to sow confusion and desperately try to divert blame from where it lays, here's a couple more things to bear in mind on this story.

First, why have an innocent Senator and an innocent lobbyiest hired the one lawyer who specializes in defending those caught in major scandals, namely Bob Bennett?

Why did they immediately hire a high-powered D.C. lawyer to begin with? Why do they need a lawyer?

Secondly, the idea being put forward that the NY Times somehow rushed an inaccurate story into print because it was afraid of being "scooped" by some tiny little nothing of a paper is simply laughable.

The NYT doesn't give a damn if some minor paper breaks a story first, and they simply would never be pressured into running something they weren't entirely and completely satisfied was a sound and accurate story.

Does anyone seriously think that the Times, who ENDORSED McCain, was somehow laying in wait to publish some invented story as a hit piece?

The idea is clearly goofy on its face. But of course, it doesn't have to make a lick of sense for the righties to endlessly spout it.

And it's interesting that McCain has chosen to dodge the press entirely today.

Lawyer up and cancel press availabilities.

That looks really good. NOT.

 
At 2/22/2008 7:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As this has played out for a couple of days, it is clear that the investigation by the NY Times has gone on for months. The Editor, Keller, was not comfortable withthe story, but for some reason, it finally ran.

Other than the extreme liberals, everyone appreciates this for the hit-piece that it is.

More than anything, it appears as though the true impact of the piece is that it will, and has, brought the right together and will be a great benefit to the McCain campaign.

 
At 2/22/2008 11:00 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Keller decided to run the story because they'd locked down the sources and verified all the information. Period.

McCain and his campaign have not disputed a single thing about what the piece reported, other than his denial that anyone tried to steer him away from this woman.

So essentially the entire story isn't even disputed by McCain!!

And when you're as innocent as you think McCain is, you don't run to lawyer up with D.C.'s go-to attorney for people caught in scandal, and then hide from the press.

The point of the piece is that like most Republicans, McCain is essentially a rank hypocrite, wrapping himself in the reformer label while being just as cozy and close to lobbyists, or more, than any other politician in D.C.

 
At 2/23/2008 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting.

4 of the 5 Senators involved in the scandal were Democrats.

DeConcini was appointed by President Bill Clinton in February, 1995 to the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.

 
At 2/23/2008 7:12 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

And all of them have been out of government for decades. Nice try.

Now McCain is revealed to be lying by.... John McCain... in a deposition under oath where he said he did meet with this billionaire Paxton before writing angry letters to the FTC demanding they expidite approval for Paxton to buy a TV station.

McCain flatly denied any contact with Paxton just the other day.

But let's get a little more current, shall we?

How about this lead from the paper yesterday about McCain's campaign co-chair being indicted for a list of serious corruption charges:

"Representative Rick Renzi, Republican of Arizona, was indicted this week by a federal grand jury on 35 counts of corruption, including fraud, money laundering, extortion and other crimes, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Federal prosecutors said Mr. Renzi had sought to enrich himself and to finance his re-election campaigns in part by selling fraudulent insurance policies.

In a 26-page indictment, prosecutors charged that Mr. Renzi abused the power of his office by forcing constituents to buy land from a man who was his secret business partner in exchange for Mr. Renzi’s support for legislation. The partner funneled $733,000 in proceeds from the sale to Mr. Renzi, prosecutors said.

Mr. Renzi, who is an Arizona co-chairman of Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, had been under investigation for more than two years and announced last August that he would not seek re-election this November to a fourth term."

Add him to the list including Duke Cunningham, convicted of accepting bribes to steer defense contracts to crooks and serving time, Bob Ney, forced to resign due to corruption involving Jack Abramoff, Tom Delay, same thing,

Republican Ohio governor Bob Taft, indicted for corruption, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, indicted and found guilty, and Bill Frist, under investigation for insider trading, and I'm not so sure you want to go down the road trying to convince anyone that the Dems are more corrupt somehow.

You'll just lose.

 
At 2/29/2008 7:40 PM, Anonymous sueshedap;puhleeeze said...

TID....apologies that this comment comes so late, but it occurred to me today that all that's heard of the story now has McCain in an "affair", blah blah blah, didn't we learn from ClintonMonica, blah blah blah; while the lobbyist angle is steadily disappearing in the rear-view mirror of the publics' perception......The fog is gathering in the "letters to the editor" pages! again...sigh...

 
At 3/01/2008 3:00 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Sue,
So true. I thought about this the other day. Watch as our ADD infected press corps gets whipped this way and that chasing whatever daily scandal or charge is put out by the campaigns. Nothing lasts long.

And the fact that it was proven that McCain LIED about this matter was largely ignored as well.

It was shown a couple days later that, contrary to what McCain flatly stated, he actually HAD had meetings with the guy who wanted to buy a TV station and likely with this lobbyist as well.

McCain had flatly stated that he'd never had such a meeting, but then reporters dug up sworn testimony that he had. Who was the witness? John McCain himself, who acknowledged that he met with this guy once or twice.

Add that to the lie that he had no idea about the right wing radio nutjob that introduced him at the rally and said the disgusting slander of Obama... then it turns out that he'd been hired specifically, in his words, to give the McCain crowd some "red meat."

Then yesterday, McCain accepts the endorsement of a guy far more reprehensible and crazy, Rev. Hagge.

This is a guy who constantly writes anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim crap and tries to whip his flock into supporting Israel and trying to demand that we bomb Iraq all to fulfill his idea of armageddon.

A real fruit-cake for certain, and McCain is glad to have his support.

But that goes past without a wimper while Russert demands that Obama denounce and reject an endorsement he never sought and has never acknowledged. Go figure.

 

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