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John McCains Twenty Year History of Political Corruption: Keating 5, Cablevision, Paxson and More

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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-06-08 03:52 AM
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I. 1989: Keating 5

John McCain said the Keating 5 Scandal was the worst thing that every happened to him. He was found guilty of using poor judgment by the Senate ethics committee for accepting thousands of dollars in free travel from Lincoln Savings and Loans chief Charles Keating Jr. as well as more than $100,000 in campaign contributions. His wife had made investments with Mr. Keating. When Keating was investigated by federal regulators for fraud, McCain and several other Senators took an undue interest in their activities----action which were interpreted as political pressure to close the investigation. The failure of Lincolns Savings and Loans was one of the most costly to the U.S. taxpayers.

Funny, when most people experience "the worst thing that has ever happened to them" they make sure that it can never happen again. John McCain must not be like most people, because he has continued that same risky behavior that got him into the Keating 5 mess.

II. After 2000: The Reform Institute aka John McCain for President 2008 Campaign In Waiting

As Doug Ireland at Common wrote in 2005, McCain has a charity called---get this---The Reform Institute. If you want to buy John McCain, you give money to The Reform Institute, which exists mainly to polish John McCains war medals and pay the salaries of his campaign staff between presidential runs.

The Reform Institute was set up to promote McCain and his issues--especially campaign finance reform, embodied in the famous McCain-Feingold law. This Institute is "a tax-exempt group that touts McCain's views and has showcased him at events since his unsuccessful 2000 presidential campaign," and it "often uses the senator's name in press releases and fund-raising letters and includes him at press conferences," the AP says. And, of course, it provides a cushy sinecure with no heavy lifting for McCain's main man, Davis, as he prepares the pontificating Senator's next presidential run. Cablevision's contributions account for a whopping 15% of the Institute's budget.

Here is more on The Reform Institute from Source Watch:

The Institute, which has been identified as both an astroturf organization and phony think tank, "primarily seems to be the 2008 McCain-for-President campaign-in-waiting."
In August 2005, the Institute was "housed in the same Old Towne office building as McCain's re-election committee (Friends of John McCain)," his Straight Talk America PAC, and "his adviser's lobbying firm" Davis, Manafort & Freedman, Inc.
"The chairman of the board of the Reform Institute is ... John McCain," Bradley A. Smith wrote. "If you go to look at the press releases at, you will see that virtually every release mentions Sen. McCain in the first sentence. Not paragraph, sentence. Who runs the Reform Institute? Well, the president is Richard Davis, who is paid over $110,000 a year. Who is Richard Davis? He was John McCains 2000 campaign manager. The counsel to the Reform Institute is Trevor Potter, whose law firm is paid more than $50,000 a year for the work. Who is Trevor Potter? Why, he was legal counsel to McCain 2000! The finance director of the Reform Institute is a woman named Carla Eudy. She was finance director for McCain 2000. The communications director is Crystal Benton; she was McCains press secretary.


And how is the Reform Institute funded? With contributions, in six figures or more, from individuals and corporations, including the cable company Cablevision. Cable companies are constantly before the Senate Commerce Committee, which Sen. McCain chaired at the time of Cablevisions contribution. In fact, Cablevision gave $200,000 to the Reform Institute around the same time its officials were testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee. Appearance of corruption, anyone?", Smith asked.

III. 2003: Cablevision Bought John McCains Services Via The Reform Institute for $200,000

The title of this section says it all. You can read about it in the Common Dreams article above. Or, here is another link with more detail.

WASHINGTON -- Sen. John McCain pressed a cable company's case for pricing changes with regulators at the same time a tax-exempt group that he has worked with since its founding solicited $200,000 in contributions from the company.
Help from McCain, who argues for ridding politics of big money, included giving the CEO of Cablevision Systems Corp. the opportunity to testify before his Senate committee, writing a letter of support to the Federal Communication Commission and asking other cable companies to support so-called a la carte pricing.

I will have to admit one thing. You sure get your moneys worth when you buy John McCain. That is the deluxe package there.

The pricing plan is opposed by most of the cable industry. It would let customers pick the channels they want rather than buy fixed-price packages. Supporters, like McCain and Cablevision, say it would lower prices for consumers, but recent congressional and private studies concluded it could make cable more expensive.

Democrats oppose A La Carte, because it would drive most minority, womens and fringe issue channels off the air (and it is more expensive). The Christian Coalition backs it, because they plan to use it to drive unacceptable channels off the airlike minority, womens and fringe issue channels, as well as any channel that teaches unacceptable science like evolution or global warming. A La Carte Cables last chance came in 2005-6 with the Republican Congress, however then FCC Chair Martin killed it (I have always suspected he cut a deal with Disney).

How do we know McCain did it for the money? From Doug Ireland:

The AP investigation found that McCain's assiduous services to Cablevision included "letting its CEO testify before his Senate committee, writing a letter of support to the Federal Communication Commission, and asking other cable companies to support so-called a la carte pricing." Davis solicited the first of two $100,00 installments Cablevision paid to McCain's pet Institute just "one week after Dolan testified before McCain's Senate Commerce Committee in May 2003 in favor of a la carte pricing. And it wasn't until after Cablevision paid up that McCain intervened on behalf of the policy the company sought with the FCC.


Just as the media bought McCain's cosmetic makeover when he became a "reformer" -- while its kissy coverage of McCain in 2000 turned the Arizonan into a major national figure, thanks to a fit of collective amnesia -- our leading organs of information are now turning a blind eye to the AP's revelation that McCain is an unethical recidivist who is once again mired in a putrid conflict of interest scandal with a major corporate player. Most of the Inside-the-Beltway press corps seems not to care about this latest McCain chicanery--so you are kept in the dark about it. A free press is a great thing, isn't it?

In case you are wondering, yes, the lovely blonde lobbyist Vicki Iseman did represent Cablevision among other telecoms. When the New York Times was talking endlessly about the sex, they forgot all about the money .

IV. Has There Ever Been a Time When John McCain Was Not For Sale?

We all know what happened in 2000 to John McCain. Big Bad Karl Rove told the voters of South Carolina that he had a Black love child, and that was the end of his presidential campaign. The maverick warrior could not stand up to power of the malicious lie. He admitted defeat and went home to lick his wounds and wait for 2008---

But what if that is not what happened? What if John McCain went into the 2000 presidential primary woefully unprepared for the kind of scrutiny which a candidate with Keating 5 history was going to receive? What if nothing had changed in the ten years between the Lincolns Savings and Loans disaster and his decision to run for president? What if he continued to take money and do favors without any thought for how it would appear? Gamblers are not cautious people. If they were, they would not be gamblers.

I present a very interesting article by Ann Kornblut and Walter v. Robinson of The Boston Globe from January 9, 2000. /

WASHINGTON - Senator John McCain raised nearly $90,000 from broadcast and telecommunications companies in four instances shortly before or after he interceded on their behalf with federal regulators in 1998 and 1999, according to campaign records reviewed yesterday.


The records show that McCain also interceded on behalf of two major satellite television companies, Echostar and DirecTV, in an effort to help them win permission to carry local broadcast signals. Echostar's chairman raised about $25,000 for McCain in a period between two McCain letters on his behalf.

FYI, Vicki Iseman also represented Echostar.

McCain was put on the defensive last week, when The Boston Globe reported that he interceded last month with the FCC on behalf of Paxson Communications, which owns or operates 73 television stations. McCain's letter-writing began soon after the company helped him raise $20,000, and while he was using Paxson's corporate jet.
The Globe also reported last week that McCain last May rebuked the FCC for bias against two Baby Bells, SBC Communications and Ameritech, which were seeking FCC permission to merge. Just before that May 12 letter, officials of the two companies contributed or solicited donations of about $120,000 to McCain's campaign.

There is more. A lot more.

This is not just a skeleton in the closet. If you believe the Globe, John McCain had a whole cemetery in his wardrobe---and he thought he was going to run for president as a reformer.

The article is very informative. It makes me wonder if McCain had to pull his campaign, go back to the drawing board and re-invent himself. Years of selling his services to the highest corporate bidder had made him unelectable. To correct the damage, he had to actually get McCain-Feingold passed not just talk about it and he had to find a way to launder his bribes (his charity) and he had to put some distance between himself and all those scandals before he made his next presidential run. The one thing he did not do was give up his lying, cheating ways.

V.2008: Last But Not Least, How John McCain Intervened for Paxson in 1999---and Then Lied About It This Year

I guess the reason this one is not as infamous as the Keating 5 is because no one went to jail and it did not cost the tax payers billions of dollars, but it had all the same ingredients. McCain accepts thousands of dollars and rides on corporate jets in exchange for interceding twice with administration officials for a businessman. And in the end, John McCain got off with a you did wrong but I guess you didnt mean anything by it hand slap.

Basically, Bud Paxson wanted to buy a public access TV station in Pittsburg, but local citizens objected, and the Clinton FCC was trying to weigh the various interests. Paxson got tired of waiting, and he sent McCain, the Senate Commerce Committee Chair in as his hired muscle to put pressure on the FCC.

From an article earlier this year in the Washington Post:

The Paxson deal, coming as McCain made his first run for the presidency, has posed a persistent problem for the senator. The deal raised embarrassing questions about his dealings with lobbyists at a time when he had assumed the role of an ethics champion and opponent of the influence of lobbyists.

The two letters he wrote to the FCC in 1999 while he was chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee produced a rash of criticism and a written rebuke from the then-FCC chairman, who called McCain's intervention "highly unusual." McCain had repeatedly used Paxson's corporate jet for his campaign and accepted campaign contributions from the broadcaster and his law firm.

Why did a scandal from 1999 become news in 2008? It wasnt just the fact that Vicki Iseman represented Paxson, too. No, John McCain did something in the case of Paxson that he had not done before.

John McCain told a lie and got caught. He claimed that no one at Paxson asked him to intervene with the FCC. However, reporters from Newsweek were able to obtain a deposition McCain gave in 2002 which contradicted his 2008 public statement. /

Turns out that Paxson talked to McCain personally before the Senator intervened on his behalf. We have McCains sworn testimony from 2002. And Paxson himself confirmed it this year.

John McCain lied. That in itself is not news. He lies all the time. However, the people who have bought the mainstream media line that McCain is a straight talking reformer might be surprised to learn that he has been selling his services to the highest corporate bidder pretty much nonstop for the last twenty years. It must be the gambler in him. I guess he just does not know how to say no to risk taking or to money.

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radfringe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-06-08 04:03 AM
Response to Original message
1. k&r
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-06-08 04:06 AM
Response to Original message
2. Hey Admiral McCombover ...
Edited on Mon Oct-06-08 04:07 AM by ColbertWatcher
... you keep using that word "Maverick", I don't think it means what you think it means.

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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-08 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #2
11. Cadaverick now! Lumpy Cadaverick McSame!
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-06-08 04:15 AM
Response to Original message
3. Sorry, great information and great post but this just does
not have gut impact. Here's why: John McCain will never have to fight the perception of not being American enough. Obama has to fight exactly that for obvious reasons. Americans expect politicians to be tinged with corruption and they've largely come to accept a certain amount of it. Keating=corrupt banker. Ayers="terrorist bomber". Which one will evoke a greater visceral response? In addiition, such figures as John Glenn were part of the Keating 5. He survived it just fine. As has McCain.

In this country it's more acceptable to be corrupt than it is to be seen as "other". It's a xenophobic kind of place with a large dollop of ignorance.

And this is just the beginning of a fast and furious assault. Next will come Khalidi, Wright and Odinga. It'll be lies and guilt by (very slight) association, but it's coming and it's a mistake to think that it won't have an impact.

So what's the answer? Sure attack on Keating. Have 527s make ads with the clip of McCain stumbling around on stage in a fog of confusion last week, but the real strength Obama has is organization, strategy on the ground and money. This is a campaign that knows what it's doing. They may have to deal with sinking polls in the next few days, but it won't throw them off their game.
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-06-08 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Normally, true. however when the economy tanks, people care about money issues
not the usual bullshit that the Onion lampooned so successfully last spring. If McCain thinks that he will change the subject by discussing lipstick on pigs and Weathermen, he is a fool. Voters either still remember the Great Depression or they grew up with parents who remembered the Great Depression and they do not want it to happen again. Rezko is the only thing that people might notice, and he pales in comparison to the long litany of McCain's sugar daddies.

My gut feeling is that when the focus is on the economy, most Americans will see Obama's mixed ethnic/racial background as a positive rather than a negative. Rich old white dudes like John McCain are the cause of economic hardship for the middle class, that is the American way of looking at things. Rich old white dudes never understand our pain. Voters will look at Obama and, rightly or wrongly, they will figure that there is a better chance that he will empathize and do something. That means that McCain brings up race at his own peril.
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NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-06-08 08:41 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Not only that - it's attacking one of McCain's perceived strengths
his supposed straight-talkiness and honesty.
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crickets Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-06-08 08:35 AM
Response to Original message
4. Ouchies.
McCamy Taylor, you are on fire with great posts lately. K&R
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-06-08 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
5. It will be VERY VERY interesting to see if Newsday will cover
stories about The Reform Institute.

Newsday was recently purchased by cablevision, which also owns Optimum, the ONLY high speed cable internet provider for Long Island.. The Only provider of cable TV on Long Island...

If I "disappear", you'll know I fell into the clutches of the Dolan family.. (I hope they don't drop MSNBC - or no more Keith & Rachel for me!)
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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-06-08 02:02 PM
Response to Original message
7. did Vicky Iseman earn her seat on the private McCain Express the same way Kelly O'Donnell does
on the Free Ride Media express
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mojowork_n Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-06-08 10:16 PM
Response to Original message
9. K & R, Great Post, n/t
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Tutonic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-06-08 11:53 PM
Response to Original message
10. Paxson is just as serious as Keating. Gets very little media attention
but exposed him for being a lying hypocritical crook!
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-08 12:01 AM
Response to Original message
12. K & R and bookmarking!
Thanks for the information!
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