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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Blah on the NYT. The Washington Post Gets the Real Story on McCain.

posted by on February 23 at 19:03 PM

The NYT’s big McCain story on Thursday was pretty weak.

But I’m not sure why one of us ‘08ers here at Slog didn’t link this fat story from yesterday’s Washington Post.

It’s almost a humor piece with paragraph after paragraph, like these, stacked up one after the other:

McCain’s relationship with lobbyists became an issue this week after it was reported that his aides asked Vicki Iseman, a telecom lobbyist, to distance herself from his 2000 presidential campaign because it would threaten McCain’s reputation for independence. An angry and defiant McCain denounced the stories yesterday, declaring: “At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust.”

Even before McCain finished his news conference, uber-lobbyist Black made the rounds of television networks to defend McCain against charges that he has been tainted by his relationship with a lobbyist. Black’s current clients include General Motors, United Technologies, JPMorgan and AT&T

McCain’s top fundraising official is former congressman Tom Loeffler (R-Tex.), who heads a lobbying law firm called the Loeffler Group. He has counseled the Saudis as well as Southwest Airlines, AT&T, Toyota and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Public Citizen, a group that monitors campaign fundraising, has found that McCain has more bundlers — people who gather checks from networks of friends and associates — from the lobbying community than any other presidential candidate from either party.

The only thing that’s missing from the piece is tying all the lobbyists (and all their clients) who work with McCain to McCain’s voting record.

Here’s a list of those clients: eBay, Goldman Sachs Group, Cablevision, Tenneco, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, General Motors, United Technologies, JP Morgan, AT&T, Alcoa, U.S. Airways, Southwest Airlines, Toyota, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. (Told you it was comical.)

It shouldn’t be too hard to find examples of McCain’s work in the Senate that benefited this corporate roster.

Here’s the dude’s voting record on significant legislation over the last few years. At a cursory glance, I see that he voted for the bankruptcy bill, a pet bill of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs—clients right there on the cronies of John list.

Hit that WaPo.

RSS icon Comments


First, the bankruptcy bill was not very important to GS and JPM. I don't doubt that they supporteed it on general principals. But, as investment banks, their clients tend to be either old money families who rarely go bankrupt or big firms whoose bankruptcies are governent by corporate, not personal bankruptcy law. Mass market credit cards are not a significant fraction of their business.

Second, and more importantly, a vote that aligns with a lobbyist's interests is hardly evidence of having been swayed if the vote aligns with the senator's ideological predisposition. What you want to find is a vote add odds with what his ideology would lead you to expect. Like say a senator from a party whoose voters lean anti-nuclear working to water down a bill regulating nuclear power after having been lobbied hard by the nuclear power industry. I wonder if any senators have done that?

Posted by David Wright | February 23, 2008 7:33 PM

Errrr...wrong on that David...

Washington Mutual, Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. spent $25 million in 2004 and 2005 lobbying for a legislative agenda that included changes in bankruptcy laws to protect credit card profits, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan Washington group that tracks political donations.

Posted by Josh Feit | February 23, 2008 7:41 PM

Josh: Okay, granted on JPM. I had forgot that JPM had merged with Chase, which gave them a big consumer credit card business.

Posted by David Wright | February 23, 2008 7:53 PM

John McCain, however likable and patriotic, is damaged goods, and anyone who remembers how he rolled over for George W. Bush, of all people in his party, during a previous tour of StraightTalk, will give pause before allowing to him that kind line of credit our well-meaning Democrats love to extend. His will be a sad post-convention campaign for the Presidency, wherein the last candles of Vietnam are hushed, and the male potency drug of his choice will be waiting, lovingly, for his deflated endorsement come December.

Posted by KOM | February 23, 2008 8:22 PM

The only thing that’s missing from the piece is tying all the lobbyists (and all their clients) who work with McCain to McCain’s voting record.... It shouldn't be too hard to find examples of McCain's work in the Senate that benefited this corporate roster.

Nor would it be hard to do the same thing for the other 99 senators.

Posted by JMR | February 23, 2008 8:35 PM

I hope McCain's campaign is like another Bob Dole in '96. Then he can go on and do a Pepsi Commercial with Miley Cyrus or somebody.

Posted by otla | February 23, 2008 9:06 PM

What? You expect the MSM to actually tell us about the dirt before we elect him as President and find he's dirty as all get out?

Have you been asleep the last 8 years?

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 23, 2008 10:49 PM

My favorite aspect of this story is the fact that McCain's lobbyist campaign manager, Conrad Black, actually makes lobbying phone calls from ON BOARD the Straight Talk Express.

Posted by lorax | February 23, 2008 11:36 PM

Before getting too delighted about McCain's ties to lobbyists, people should look into who's supporting Obama. Last I checked he got lots of money from banks and investment firms, like Goldman Sachs and JPM.

Here, top Obama contributors:

Posted by Cascadian | February 24, 2008 12:05 AM

Nice job not reading the fine print:

"The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families."

Given that this page:

Confirms that he hasn't taken any PAC money, all that chart means is that the people who donate to him happen to work at those companies. Obviously damning evidence.

Posted by Zelbinian | February 24, 2008 12:51 AM

Passive-aggressive much? If you're gonna accuse Obama of something, just accuse him; there's no need to be coy about it.

On that particular issue, he didn't "water down the bill" - the rest of the Senate did. He got the bill to a point of compromise so it would get past the Senate. Also, he himself has stated that he is "nuclear agnostic".

Posted by Zelbinian | February 24, 2008 12:55 AM


Also, the MAJORITY of Obama's dollas come from folks like you and me, not lobbiests. Can any candidate still viable say the same?

It's time, eh?

Posted by Gabriel | February 24, 2008 1:54 AM

Whew* it's a darned good thing the New York Times and Washington Post have YOU around to keep them on their toes. Hey, why don't you see if you can get a job there? OH, that's right... now I remember.

Posted by UR DOIN IT RONG! | February 24, 2008 8:48 AM

Why in the hell would "left" wing press do an 8 year old story before he has the nomination? This is clearly a story he wanted out now. It stimulated his fundraising and if it isn't a death sentence it will make him stronger.

Josh you should be getting the dirt out on Obama now and not wait for the right wing to do it after the nomination.

Posted by ouch | February 24, 2008 9:19 AM

@11: No, Clinton is the one who's "agnostic" on nuclear power. (Bullshit answer, by the way.) Obama likes nuclear power: "We should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix." And he did water down that disclosure bill, but that was largely because of hostile R leadership, according to the Washington Post.

Posted by annie | February 24, 2008 11:47 AM

Energy Independence Now!

No more Oil Wars!

Stop funding the terrorists!

Drill in Anwar.

Build more nuclear power plants

Use More coal.

Use more natural gas

Turn trash into energy

Double the efficiency of windmills and solar cells.

If France can do nuclear power so can we.

If Brazil can do biomass/ethanol power so can we.

If Australia can do LNG power so can we.

Domestically produced energy will end recession and spur the economy.

Posted by poetryman69 | February 24, 2008 5:27 PM

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