Last updated: February 29, 2008 - 5:44pm
MCCAIN'S DENIALS BEGIN TO UNRAVEL
McCain defends pressing agency to act on license
McCain Disputed On 1999 Meeting
A Hole in McCain’s Defense?
Files and McCain Letter Show Effort to Keep Media Ownership Loophole
White House Accuses NYT of Anti-GOP Bias
What That McCain Article Didn't Say
In Aftermath of Article, McCain Gathers Donations
MCCAIN'S DENIALS BEGIN TO UNRAVEL
MCCAIN DEFENDS PRESSING AGENCY TO ACT ON LICENSE
[SOURCE: Boston Globe 2/22, AUTHOR: Michael Kranish]
Senator John McCain defended pushing a government agency to decide whether to issue a TV license to a major donor, asserting that the agency's former chairman had cleared his role as "appropriate." But the Federal Communications Commission chairman involved in the case, William E. Kennard, actually wrote a letter to Sen McCain at the time saying that his request for the agency to take action was "highly unusual" and that he was concerned that McCain's action would interfere with the agency's "due process." Asked to explain the apparent contradiction, a McCain spokeswoman said yesterday that the Arizona senator was citing exoneration from Chairman Reed Hundt, who left the commission in 1997 -- even though that was two years before Sen McCain pushed the FCC to decide the case. The spokeswoman denied that Sen McCain sought to mislead the public. Angela Campbell, a Georgetown University law professor who represented opponents of the company trying to buy the TV station, said yesterday that McCain's statement that a former FCC chairman deemed his action appropriate was "very misleading" because the campaign was relying on someone who was not involved in the matter. Also, Hundt said in an interview that he shouldn't have been, notwithstanding a letter to the editor he wrote in 2000 praising the senator. "I can't speak to a thing," Hundt said . "I don't know anything about what he wrote to Kennard and not to me."
* McCain Takes More Heat Over FCC Stances
"In my two years on the commission, I have never received such an out-of-line request," said former FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani in 2000 of the Paxson letters. She was particularly unhappy about the deadline, saying "we are an independent agency and were...acting in a quasi-judicial role. It was inappropriate to ask for a vote by a certain date."
* McCain's Non-Denial Denial of an Intervention
* The Buried Lede in the McCain-Lobbyist Story
[Commentary] John McCain was given the power to do something about media consolidation. He did nothing about it. He was given the power to do something about telecommunications and Internet consolidation. He did nothing about it. That's the story. Why haven't you seen it anywhere, in any newspaper, or magazine on any TV? Why does a blogger have to tell you this? That's the scandal.
* Behind the John McCain Lobbying Scandal: A Look at How McCain Urged the FCC to Act on Behalf of Paxson Communications
MCCAIN DISPUTED ON 1999 MEETING
[SOURCE: Washington Post 2/23, AUTHOR: James V. Grimaldi and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum]
On Friday broadcast television station owner Lowell "Bud" Paxson contradicted statements from Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign that the senator did not meet with Paxson or his lobbyist before sending two controversial letters to the Federal Communications Commission on Paxson's behalf. Paxson said he talked with McCain in his Washington office several weeks before the Arizona Republican wrote the letters in 1999 to the FCC urging a rapid decision on Paxson's quest to acquire a Pittsburgh television station. Paxson also recalled that his lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, likely attended the meeting in McCain's office and that Iseman helped arrange the meeting. "Was Vicki there? Probably," Paxson said. Paxson also said , "I remember going there to meet with him." He recalled that he told Sen McCain: "You're head of the Commerce Committee. The FCC is not doing its job. I would love for you to write a letter." "We understood that he [McCain] did not speak directly with him [Paxson]. Now it appears he did speak to him. What is the difference?" Bennett said. "McCain has never denied that Paxson asked for assistance from his office. It doesn't seem relevant whether the request got to him through Paxson or the staff. His letters to the FCC concerning the matter urged the commission to make up its mind. He did not ask the FCC to approve or deny the application. It's not that big a deal."
* Former Paxson Exec Denies Meeting McCain (Associated Press)
Dean Goodman, who was in charge of Paxson Communications' lobbying efforts in 1999, said Saturday he never met with John McCain about the Arizona senator writing letters to the Federal Communications Commission regarding the regulatory delay of a Pittsburgh TV station sale. He also doubts that chief executive Lowell W. "Bud" Paxson met with McCain over the issue, and said he doesn't recall such a meeting. "Whether Bud discussed it with him or not, via some other mechanism, I can't rule it out," Goodman added. The campaign said his 1999 Senate schedule does not show any meetings between McCain and Paxson or any of Paxson's representatives on this issue. The campaign said the schedule shows no meetings with Paxson that year, but shows one meeting in 1998 and one in 2000, months before and after the letters were sent.
A HOLE IN MCCAIN'S DEFENSE
[SOURCE: Newsweek 2/22, AUTHOR: Michael Isikoff]
A sworn deposition that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) gave in a lawsuit more than five years ago appears to contradict one part of a sweeping denial that his campaign issued this week to rebut a New York Times story about his ties to a Washington lobbyist. On Thursday, Sen McCain's campaign insisted that McCain had never even spoken with anybody from Paxson or Alcalde & Fay about letters sent to the Federal Communications Commission on Paxson's behalf. But that flat claim seems to be contradicted by an impeccable source: Sen McCain himself. "I was contacted by Mr. [Lowell] Paxson on this issue," Sen McCain said in the Sept. 25, 2002 deposition. "He wanted their approval very bad for purposes of his business. I believe that Mr. Paxson had a legitimate complaint." While Sen McCain said "I don't recall" if he ever directly spoke to the firm's lobbyist about the issue -- an apparent reference to Iseman, though she is not named -- "I'm sure I spoke to [Paxson]." Sen McCain agreed that his letters on behalf of Paxson, a campaign contributor, could "possibly be an appearance of corruption" -- even though Sen McCain denied doing anything improper. The deposition that McCain gave came in the course of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of his landmark campaign finance reform law, known as McCain-Feingold. The suit sheds no new light on the nature of the senator's dealings with Iseman, but it does include a lengthy discussion of his dealings with the company that hired her, including some statements by the senator that could raise additional questions for his campaign.
* John McCain’s denials start to unravel in tale of the blonde lobbyist
FILES AND MCCAIN LETTER SHOW EFFORT TO KEEP LOOPHOLE
[SOURCE: New York Times 2/23, AUTHOR: Stephen Labaton]
In late 1998, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) sent an unusually blunt letter to the head of the Federal Communications Commission, warning that he would try to overhaul the agency if it closed a broadcast ownership loophole. The letter, and two later ones signed by Mr. McCain, then chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, urged the commission to abandon plans to close a loophole vitally important to Glencairn Ltd., a client of Vicki Iseman, a lobbyist. The provision enabled one of the nation’s largest broadcasting companies, Sinclair, to use a marketing agreement with Glencairn, a far smaller broadcaster, to get around a restriction barring single ownership of two television stations in the same city. A review of the record, including agency records now at the National Archives and interviews with participants, shows that Sen McCain, Republican of Arizona, played a significant role in killing the plan to eliminate the loophole. His actions followed requests by Ms. Iseman and lobbyists at other broadcasting companies, according to lobbying records and Congressional aides.
* McCain, Glencairn Ltd, and Sinclair Broadcasting
* Vicki Iseman’s Lobbying Career
WHITE HOUSE ACCUSES NYT ON ANTI-GOP BIAS
[SOURCE: Associated Press 2/23]
The White House sided with Sen. John McCain and accused The New York Times on Friday of repeatedly trying to ''drop a bombshell'' on Republican presidential nominees to undermine their candidacies. The newspaper has drawn fire from McCain himself and even some of his conservative critics for publishing a report Thursday suggesting that McCain, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, had an improper relationship with a female lobbyist. McCain said the report was not true. White House deputy press secretary Scott Stanzel, at a briefing, noted that the story has received a lot of attention. ''I think a lot of people here in this building, with experience in a couple campaigns, have grown accustomed to the fact that during the course of the campaign, seemingly on maybe a monthly basis leading up to the convention and maybe a weekly basis after that, the New York Times does try to drop a bombshell on the Republican nominee. And that is something that the Republican nominee has faced in the past and probably will face in this campaign,'' he said. ''And sometimes they make incredible leaps to try to drop those bombshells on the Republican nominee.''
WHAT THE MCCAIN ARTICLE DIDN'T SAY
[SOURCE: New York Times 2/24, AUTHOR: Clark Hoyt]
[Commentary] Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, said the article about John McCain that appeared in Thursday’s paper was about a man nearly felled by scandal who rebuilt himself as a fighter against corruption but is still “careless about appearances, careless about his reputation, and that’s a pretty important thing to know about somebody who wants to be president of the United States.” But judging by the explosive reaction to the 3,000-word article, most readers saw it as something else altogether. They saw it as a story about illicit sex. And most were furious at The Times. The article was notable for what it did not say: It did not say what convinced the advisers that there was a romance. It did not make clear what McCain was admitting when he acknowledged behaving inappropriately -- an affair or just an association with a lobbyist that could look bad. And it did not say whether John Weaver, a former top strategist for McCain and the only on-the-record source, believed there was a romance. The Times did not offer independent proof, like the text messages between Detroit’s mayor and a female aide that The Detroit Free Press disclosed recently, or the photograph of Donna Rice sitting on Gary Hart’s lap. It was not for want of trying. Keller says, “If the point of the story was to allege that McCain had an affair with a lobbyist, we'd have owed readers more compelling evidence than the conviction of senior staff members. But that was not the point of the story. The point of the story was that he behaved in such a way that his close aides felt the relationship constituted reckless behavior and feared it would ruin his career.” Hoyt concludes: "A newspaper cannot begin a story about the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee with the suggestion of an extramarital affair with an attractive lobbyist 31 years his junior and expect readers to focus on anything other than" the possible infidelity.
IN AFTERMATH OF ARTICLE, MCCAIN GATHERS DONATIONS
[SOURCE: New York Times 2/23, AUTHOR: Elisabeth Bumiller]
Senator John McCain declared the battle over on Friday morning, but by then his lieutenants believed he had already won the war. Conservative radio talk show hosts who had long reviled Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential candidate from Arizona, had rallied to his defense. Bloggers on the right said that this could be the start of a new relationship. Most telling, Mr. McCain’s campaign announced Friday afternoon that it had just recorded its single-best 24 hours in online fund-raising, although it declined to provide numbers. Both sides traced the senator’s sudden fortunes to an unusual source, The New York Times.
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