Saturday, September 6, 2008

Rewriting History: Part 1

In the world of unreality that Palin and McCain exist in, if you say something on TV it suddenly becomes true and you can rewrite history to suit your political purposes. Here’s what Palin said during her acceptance speech about McCain:

“Senator McCain's record of actual achievement and reform helps explain why so many special interests, lobbyists, and comfortable committee chairmen in Congress have fought the prospect of a McCain presidency - from the primary election of 2000 to this very day.”

Excuse me Sarah, but exactly which of the above mentioned has fought the prospects of a McCain candidacy? Since Sarah opened the door to his past, let's step through it and take a closer look at McCain's relationship with special interest groups. Here’s McCain in his own words:

"People give money to buy access. We're all tainted by this system.... [Donors] have access, and therefore they have influence. It corrupts the system. And I'm a victim of it too."

He said that during an interview with The Boston Globe concerning his involvement with lobbyists from SBC Communications. In May of 1999 McCain sent a letter to the FCC's Kennard accusing the commission of bias concerning merger negotiations between former Bell-system phone companies, SBC Communications and Ameritech. The night before McCain sent the letter, SBC's lobbyist hosted a dinner for McCain that raised nearly $20,000. Later that month Ameritech's chairman co-hosted an event that raised $88,000.

McCain was quite busy with lobbyists that year. In November, at the request of the lobbyist for Paxson Communications, McCain wrote a letter to William E. Kennard, chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). McCain urged prompt action on Paxson's request for a license, set to expire in mid-December. The day before sending his letter, McCain used a Paxson corporate jet to travel from New York to Florida, and then from Florida to Washington. Paxson and its law firm also contributed a combined $20,000 to McCain's campaign.

A second letter was sent to other members of the FCC on December 10. At the time, McCain was head of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees the FCC. His letters quickly drew this response from Chairman Kennard:

"I must respectfully note that it is highly unusual for the commissioners to be asked to publicly announce their voting status on a matter that is still pending. I am concerned that inquiries concerning the individual deliberations of each commissioner could have procedural and substantive impacts on the Commission's deliberations and, thus, on the due process rights of the parties."

Here’s what reporter
Walter Robinson from the Boston Globe wrote about McCain following the Paxson and SBC scandals:

“It is a paradox that underlies McCain's quest for the presidency: As he savages special interests from almost every podium, those interests, ever pragmatic, have lavished attention and donations on the powerful chairman of a committee that has vast reach over the rapidly evolving and often regulated commercial marketplace. If anything, many of the special interests are underwriting McCain's campaign for president - and his rhetorical war against them. But for campaign audiences who come away believing McCain has constructed a wall to keep influential donors at bay, the Paxson and Baby Bell incidents suggest that McCain remains vulnerable to special interests he says have corrupted Washington.”

McCain's ties with lobbyists and special interests are so deep, it's going to take another couple of posts to get to it all so read on....


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