By Benjamin van der Horst
The New York Times is running a damming 2,800 word article about Senator John McCain’s his past ties with lobbyists in Thursday’s edition. Even though the McCain campaign has called it “tabloid journalism” it seems to be meticulously researched with four reporters on the byline and two additional researchers listed. Regardless of if the main implication of the article is true–that McCain had an affair with a lobbyist in 2000 and then tried to intervene on behalf of her clients–it shows a very different side of the crusader against lobbyists and special interests we have come to known.
I have always admired Senator McCain for his ethics and morals. I have to admit, I am most disturbed by these allegations in this article. His relationship with Vicki Iseman, a telecommunications lobbyist, in his first bid for the White House got to the point where his staffers staged an intervention to keep her away from him. These staffers were convinced it had become romantic, something that they both deny. Regardless of whether that is true, we know he did write letters to the FCC on behalf of some of her clients in the late 1990s, something that I consider completely inappropiate.
The article also goes into a huge scandal McCain was involved in the the late 1980s helping a political patron. McCain was a member of the Keating Five, getting involved in intervening to save his supporter’s bank from the regulators. When the bank when broke as part of the savings and loan scandals, three Senators were censured by the Senate and lost their jobs. Even though McCain got off with a reprimand, my view of him in light of reading this article definitely went down.
Is he really the anti-special interest and lobbyist candidate? Or is he a hypocrite?
Below, McCain denies the allegations in the Times article.