Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mr. McCain Not So McSqueaky Clean: Close Links to 3 Telecom Lobbyists

Everyone's all a titter about this NY Times story alleging that Sen. John McCain has had an "inappropriate relationship" with lobbyist Vicki Iseman. Her un-scrubbed lobby firm bio is here. Per Raw Story, the Times had held this story for months publishing it only after The New Republic (sub. required) starting nosing around 229 W. 43rd St. for their own story. WaPo was treading water on this one too.

I personally could care less whether or not the self-confessed Senior Adulterer from Arizona and Iseman are romantically entangled (other than the mere thought of McCain entangling anything with anyone completely creeps me out). It will be enough to give some so-called "values voters" pause.

But as the Amazing Digby points out It's Not About The's about the favors. McCain's unswerving support of Iseman's telecom clients included championing bills to end big time evangelical Bud Paxson's (Ion Television formerly Paxson Communications) and others' fight to force cable to run his broadcast stations or to provide minority ownership tax breaks for Cunningham Broadcasting (née Glencairn, LTD -- the shell corp. owned and operated by the evil John Kerry-swiftboating Sinclair empire to avoid FCC ownership regs). McCain not so coincidentally spearheaded a ton of broadcast industry deregulation that contributed to the MSM mess we now endure.

However, this goes deeper than McCain's favoritism and reciprocal of use of their corporate jets and other stuff. The aforementioned NY Times piece points out just how far Johnny Boy's super-cozyness with lobbyists goes:

Like other presidential candidates, he has relied on lobbyists to run his campaigns. Since a cash crunch last summer, several of them — including his campaign manager, Rick Davis, who represented companies before Mr. McCain’s Senate panel — have been working without pay, a gift that could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

In recent weeks, Mr. McCain has hired another lobbyist, Mark Buse, to run his Senate office. In his case, it was a round trip through the revolving door: Mr. Buse had directed Mr. McCain’s committee staff for seven years before leaving in 2001 to lobby for telecommunications companies.
(my emphasis)
Shee-it! As HuffPo noted last year John McCain's 2008 team is fucking riddled with lobbyists! Forget about a rumored romance with Iseman, even at work Johnny's in bed with lobbyists! Mark Buse is notorious as one of the two lobbyists secretly hired by former CPB Chair/Karl Rove amigo/Republican tool Ken Tomlinson to quash attempts to seat more actual broadcasters on the PBS board.

It turns out McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis is even more controversial. The WaPo hits Rick Davis for setting up a McCain meet with gangster-linked Putin-pal billionaire Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska. At the time Davis was still at his own lobby firm Davis Manafort where his biggest clients were telecom giants SBC Global AT&T and Verizon. According to Open Secrets between 1998-99 & 2003-05 Davis Manafort raked in at total of $670,000 SBC Global AT&T bucks. From 2003-2005 Verizon tossed him a cool $540,000.

While Iseman and Buse do not seem to have any vested interest in telecom immunity, his Campaign Manager Rick Davis sure does. "Straight Talk" McCain's recent vote to keep telecom immunity in Bush's wiretapping bill appears not like a vote to keep us safer but a vote for Davis' once and future clients. McCain's continued support of telecom immunity is a fait accompli or Davis wouldn't be working for him for free.

This raises the question: In what other ways would "Honest Johnny" McCain favor the special interests he used to rail against once he's President and at what cost to the average citizen?

Let's all agree right now to not find out. Please.


**Update: Firedoglake has more dirt on Davis.

**Update #2: TPM's Josh Marshall harks back to his days at TAP for a Paxson-led mega billion dollar tax payer boondoggle.

**Update #3: Stroke Girl waxes philosophic on the rise & fall of the heroic John McCain.