Telecom lobbyists tied to McCain
WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate John McCain has condemned the influence of "special interest lobbyists," yet dozens of lobbyists have political and financial ties to his presidential campaign — particularly from telecommunications companies, an industry he helps oversee in the Senate.
Of the 66 current or former lobbyists working for the Arizona senator or raising money for his presidential campaign, 23 have lobbied for telecommunications companies in the past decade, Senate lobbying disclosures show.
Records indicate that some of these telecom lobbyists have raised more than three quarter of a million dollars for McCain. Of course, if lobbyists have no influence on the politician, this doesn't become much of an issue. But consider this.. McCain is the senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee which oversees the telecom community.
[McCain] has repeatedly pushed industry-backed legislation since 2000, particularly during a second stint as committee chairman from 2003 through 2005. His efforts to eliminate taxes and regulations on telecommunications services won him praise from industry executives.
People who lobbied for telecom companies on those issues include McCain's campaign manager, his deputy manager, his finance chief, his top unpaid political adviser and his Senate chief of staff. Telecom companies have paid the lobbying firms that employed those top five McCain advisersmore than $4.4 million since 1999, lobbying records show.
It's hard to imagine that the media (beyond USA Today) will give this story much play in the midst of the McCain vs. Clinton bloodbath, but when the campaign finally settles down for the fall push, expect to see some of the shine come off of McCain's anti-influence halo during the final debates.