Friday, May 09, 2008



When we think about members of the Senate who use their positions to serve their own financial interests and those of their friends we usually think of crooked schemers like Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, Tom DeLay, Denny Hastert, Don Young, Ted Stevens. Today the NY Times exposed another conflict of interest slime bucket, Richard Shelby (R-AL). But this morning's Washington Post brings up a name that hasn't been as connected to the criminal use of his office as it was when he was the star of the Keating Five, taking bribes from his father-in-law's good friend, crooked banker Charles Keating, in return for immense bribes. Since then, McCain has been very careful to at least always appear to be on a straight and narrow path. John McCain isn't going to be very happy about the page one story in the Post, McCain Pushed Land Swap That Benefits Backer. Of course, if you've already read Cliff Schecter's book, The Real McCain none of this will shock you. But if you've gotten your impressions of John McCain from the corporate media, especially from his pals on TV... fasten your seatbelt. This isn't McCain pal, indicted congressman Rick Renzi we're talking about-- even if it sounds similar:
Sen. John McCain championed legislation that will let an Arizona rancher trade remote grassland and ponderosa pine forest here for acres of valuable federally owned property that is ready for development, a land swap that now stands to directly benefit one of his top presidential campaign fundraisers.

Initially reluctant to support the swap, the Arizona Republican became a key figure in pushing the deal through Congress after the rancher and his partners hired lobbyists that included McCain's 1992 Senate campaign manager, two of his former Senate staff members (one of whom has returned as his chief of staff), and an Arizona insider who was a major McCain donor and is now bundling campaign checks.

When McCain's legislation passed in November 2005, the ranch owner gave the job of building as many as 12,000 homes to SunCor Development, a firm in Tempe, Ariz., run by Steven A. Betts, a longtime McCain supporter who has raised more than $100,000 for the presumptive Republican nominee. Betts said he and McCain never discussed the deal.

No doubt. And why would they. McCain described all 66 lobbyists who run his presidential campaign-- some of whom have reputations in DC that would make Jack Abramoff blush-- as "men of honor." It will be hard to prove that McCain's actions were specifically criminal. "Men of honor" know how to keep their mouths shut. But the hypocrisy on multiple front will be hard even for the Double Talk Express media machine to ease away for anyone short of McCain appendages like David Broder and Chris Matthews.
As McCain positions himself as a champion of environmental causes, observers of the Yavapai Ranch swap say it shows a paradox in the senator's positions. At times, he has fought to protect the delicate desert ecosystem. But when wildlife concerns have thwarted development, his loyalties have shifted.

"When the public trust intersects with private interests, basically, he has favored land development . . . in every case," said Rob Smith, director of the Sierra Club's Arizona affiliate.

McCain also has been critical of government's "revolving door," which allows former government officials to position themselves as influential lobbyists. Rogers said that McCain does not recall being lobbied by his former staff members on the land swap and that "no lobbyist influenced Senator McCain on this issue."

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At 7:08 AM, Blogger Jill said...

Every one of these stories needs to be blogswarmed like mad, because God knows the media won't get their lips off of McCain's withered old dick long enough to do it. I blogged it myself this morning.

At 8:20 AM, Blogger Roy said...

Yes. Not by intent, but by action.

At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he was not influenced by anyone, he must be seriously senile - selling something that is worth $120,000 for only $2,000!!!


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