Daily Revolt

December 31, 2007

John McCain: Candidate of the Lobbyists

The candidate who likes to portray himself as being independent from the Washington establishment is very much a friend of that crowd:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took a break from the presidential campaign trail in March to fly to a posh Utah ski resort, where he mingled with hundreds of top corporate executives assembled by J.P. Morgan Chase for its annual leadership conference.

McCain's appearance at the Deer Valley event, arranged by J.P. Morgan Vice Chairman James B. Lee Jr., a top McCain fundraiser, put him in a room with the chief executives of companies such as General Electric, Xerox and Sony. It was, Lee said, "a chance for him to let them see him for who he is and possibly decide to support him." The effort paid off: J.P. Morgan executives have donated $56,250 to McCain's campaign, two-thirds of which came after his Utah appearance. And his visit there was quickly followed up by dozens of smaller private meetings with corporate executives in New York City arranged by leading Wall Street figures.

"We tried to get him around to a lot of those kinds of things," said McCain campaign manager Rick Davis. "We were very much in the friend-making business."

[...]McCain aides bridle at the notion that the senator, who has consistently fought in the Senate against so-called pork-barrel spending from such interests and championed laws to restrict their lobbying and political donations, might favor his big contributors. "There's never been anybody who's done more to rein in special interests and lobbyists than John McCain," Davis said. "If you give to him, you know there's no quid pro quo. People give to him because they want him to be president of the United States. They can't be motivated by any other reason."

[...]a recent study by the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute and the liberal advocacy group Public Citizen found that McCain has more lobbyists raising funds for his presidential bid than do any of his rivals. He has 32 "bundlers" of donations who are lobbyists. Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R) is the closest to him with 29 lobbyist bundlers, followed by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) with 18.

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