Did McCain have a close relationship with a female lobbyist?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. Is this smoke with no fire?

    February 21, 2008
    For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk

    WASHINGTON — 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.

    But the concerns about Mr. McCain’s relationship with Ms. Iseman underscored an enduring paradox of his post-Keating career. Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest.

    Mr. McCain promised, for example, never to fly directly from Washington to Phoenix, his hometown, to avoid the impression of self-interest because he sponsored a law that opened the route nearly a decade ago. But like other lawmakers, he often flew on the corporate jets of business executives seeking his support, including the media moguls Rupert Murdoch, Michael R. Bloomberg and Lowell W. Paxson, Ms. Iseman’s client. (Last year he voted to end the practice.)

    Mr. McCain helped found a nonprofit group to promote his personal battle for tighter campaign finance rules. But he later resigned as its chairman after news reports disclosed that the group was tapping the same kinds of unlimited corporate contributions he opposed, including those from companies seeking his favor. He has criticized the cozy ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, but is relying on corporate lobbyists to donate their time running his presidential race and recently hired a lobbyist to run his Senate office.

    “He is essentially an honorable person,” said William P. Cheshire, a friend of Mr. McCain who as editorial page editor of The Arizona Republic defended him during the Keating Five scandal. “But he can be imprudent.”

    Mr. Cheshire added, “That imprudence or recklessness may be part of why he was not more astute about the risks he was running with this shady operator,” Charles Keating, whose ties to Mr. McCain and four other lawmakers tainted them in the savings and loan debacle.

    During his current campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Mr. McCain has played down his attacks on the corrupting power of money in politics, aware that the stricter regulations he championed are unpopular in his party. When the Senate overhauled lobbying and ethics rules last year, Mr. McCain was not among the leaders in the debate.

    With his nomination this year all but certain, though, he is reminding voters again of his record of reform. His campaign has already begun comparing his credentials with those of Senator Barack Obama, a Democratic contender who has made lobbying and ethics rules a centerpiece of his own pitch to voters.

    “I would very much like to think that I have never been a man whose favor can be bought,” Mr. McCain wrote about his Keating experience in his 2002 memoir, “Worth the Fighting For.” “From my earliest youth, I would have considered such a reputation to be the most shameful ignominy imaginable. Yet that is exactly how millions of Americans viewed me for a time, a time that I will forever consider one of the worst experiences of my life.”

    A drive to expunge the stain on his reputation in time turned into a zeal to cleanse Washington as well. The episode taught him that “questions of honor are raised as much by appearances as by reality in politics,” he wrote, “and because they incite public distrust they need to be addressed no less directly than we would address evidence of expressly illegal corruption.”

    A Formative Scandal

    Mr. McCain started his career like many other aspiring politicians, eagerly courting the wealthy and powerful. A Vietnam war hero and Senate liaison for the Navy, he arrived in Arizona in 1980 after his second marriage, to Cindy Hensley, the heiress to a beer fortune there. He quickly started looking for a Congressional district where he could run.

    Mr. Keating, a Phoenix banker and real estate developer, became an early sponsor and, soon, a friend. He was a man of great confidence and daring, Mr. McCain recalled in his memoir. “People like that appeal to me,” he continued. “I have sometimes forgotten that wisdom and a strong sense of public responsibility are much more admirable qualities.”

    During Mr. McCain’s four years in the House, Mr. Keating, his family and his business associates contributed heavily to his political campaigns. The banker gave Mr. McCain free rides on his private jet, a violation of Congressional ethics rules (he eventually paid for the trips). They vacationed together in the Bahamas. And in 1986, the year Mr. McCain was elected to the Senate, his wife joined Mr. Keating in investing in an Arizona shopping mall.

    Mr. Keating had taken over a California thrift institution, the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, and used its federally insured deposits to gamble on risky real estate and other investments. He pressed Mr. McCain and other lawmakers to help hold back federal banking regulators. For years, Mr. McCain complied. At Mr. Keating’s request, he wrote several letters to regulators, introduced legislation and helped secure the nomination of a Keating associate to a banking regulatory board.

    By early 1987, though, the thrift was careering toward disaster. Mr. McCain agreed to join several senators, eventually known as the Keating Five, for two private meetings with regulators to urge them to ease up. “Why didn’t I fully grasp the unusual appearance of such a meeting?” Mr. McCain later lamented in his memoir.

    When Lincoln went bankrupt in 1989 — one of the biggest collapses of the savings and loan crisis, costing taxpayers $3.4 billion — the Keating Five became infamous. The scandal sent Mr. Keating to prison and ended the careers of three senators, who were censured in 1991 for intervening. Mr. McCain, who had been a less aggressive advocate for Mr. Keating than the others, was reprimanded for “poor judgment” but was re-elected the next year.

    Some people involved think Mr. McCain got off too lightly. William Black, one of the banking regulators the senator met with, argued that Mrs. McCain’s investment with Mr. Keating created an obvious conflict of interest for her husband. (Mr. McCain had said a prenuptial agreement divided the couple’s assets.) He should not be able to “put this behind him,” Mr. Black said. “It sullied his integrity.”

    Mr. McCain has since described the episode as a unique humiliation. “If I do not repress the memory, its recollection still provokes a vague but real feeling that I had lost something very important,” he wrote in his memoir. “I still wince thinking about it.”

  2. Many are talking about what The elephants will bring up on Obama,I cant wait for McCain's skeletons like this to be revealed

    I know his wife was a drug addicted pill popper who was also caught stealing drugs and McCain got her off.

    McCain started the attacks last night,I believe Barrack and the Dem's can and will hit back quite hard
    Thu Dec 20 2007 10:49:27 ET

    Just weeks away from a possible surprise victory in the primaries, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz has been waging a ferocious behind the scenes battle with the NEW YORK TIMES, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, and has hired DC power lawyer Bob Bennett to mount a bold defense against charges of giving special treatment to a lobbyist!

    McCain has personally pleaded with NY TIMES editor Bill Keller not to publish the high-impact report involving key telecom legislation before the Senate Commerce Committee, newsroom insiders tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

    The paper's Jim Rutenberg has been leading the investigation and is described as beyond frustrated with McCain's aggressive and angry efforts to stop any and all publication.

    The drama involves a woman lobbyist who may have helped to write key telecom legislation. The woman in question has retained counsel and strongly denies receiving any special treatment from McCain.

  4. Never mind a female lobbyist. McCain dated a female stripper, by his own admission.

    Not that it was necessarily wrong. Just reflection of his bad taste in women.
  5. if i am going to risk my career, i don't think it would be over this:

  6. [​IMG]
  7. Hammerhead.

  8. yeah.. thats one big ass forehead.
  9. The space between the eyeballs looks like a hammerhead shark.
  10. I predicted some time ago that once McCain had the nomination, the mainstream media would turn on him. You just heard the first shoe drop.

    This story is so thin that no newspaper would run it unless they were pursuing an openly political attack. This exact story could be written about half the congressmen in Washington. It is like 9 years old. There are no sources, only vague suggestions, apparently from former staffers. It is clearly a piece of Dan Rather-style journalism. There is no confirmation of an affair, there is no smoking gun of any favors done, really there is as little substance here as an Obama speech.

    Certain obvious questions present themselves. According to Drudge, the Times sat on this story since December, and one of the lead authors resigned the paper, apparently in protest over what she felt was improper editorial control. Knowing the story was ready to run, the paper nevertheless endorsed McCain, with no mention of any ethical problems. Is this a matter of internal inconsistency or was their motive to push the nomination of a candidate they knew they could badly damage?

    McCain's response was characterized as a strong denial, but he did not deny a relationship with this woman. That could not have been an accidental oversight. He denied doing anything improper for her but did not mention his relationship with her. Apparently she has previously denied an affair.

    The word is that Romney's people knew all about this but decided to keep quiet about it. Once again, we see Romney is a class act.

    It is hard to predict how this plays out. It could actually work in his favor, as conservatives might rally to him. On the other hand, it is only too easy to believe the story is true in all its implications. It's not like McCain didn't begin his affair with his current wife when he was still married. I never was all that impressed by the Keating scandal. Senators talk to regulators all the time for constituents, and Keating actually had a legitimate gripe that the regulators were moving the goal line on him. Still, McCain's wife was financially involved with Keating, so it looked bad. It's not hard to imagine a 60 year old guy who thinks pretty highly of himself, as McCain clearly does, not using the best possible judgment when he's getting some hot sex from a 31 year old babe. And let's be honest. They call these women lobbyists, but most of them are good looking former Hill staffers who have "access" to congressmen or senior staff.

    If this sinks McCain, a lot of people who have dealt with him and his tantrums won't be the least bit sorry. In fact, they will take a grim delight in it. McCain has been quick to throw around charges of corruption when anyone disagrees with him. Now the shoe is on the other foot.
    #10     Feb 21, 2008