McCain Responsible for Influence Peddling?

Today’s New York Times has a very long and detailed article regarding John McCain’s relationship with real estate developer Donald Diamond, a relationship that at least raises questions about whether Sen. McCain improperly used his influence as United States Senator to benefit a major donor.

For Mr. McCain, the Arizona Republican who has staked two presidential campaigns on pledges to avoid even the appearance of dispensing an official favor for a donor, Mr. Diamond is the kind of friend who can pose a test.

A longtime political patron, Mr. Diamond is one of the elite fund-raisers Mr. McCain’s current presidential campaign calls Innovators, having raised more than $250,000 so far. At home, Mr. Diamond is sometimes referred to as “The Donald,” Arizona’s answer to Donald Trump — an outsized personality who invites public officials aboard his flotilla of yachts (the Ace, King, Jack and Queen of Diamonds), specializes in deals with the government, and unabashedly solicits support for his business interests from the recipients of his campaign contributions.

Mr. McCain has occasionally rebuffed Mr. Diamond’s entreaties as inappropriate, but he has also taken steps that benefited his friend’s real estate empire. Their 26-year relationship illuminates how Mr. McCain weighs requests from a benefactor against his vows, adopted after a brush with scandal two decades ago, not to intercede with government authorities on behalf of a donor or take other official action that serves no clear public interest.

Read the whole thing. I don’t know if all the facts are in a row to state that McCain has been acting unethically with respect to Diamond, but the article definitely raises questions that are worth pursuing of the candidate. Especially for a man like John McCain, who has a history of such unethical conduct.

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Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    Alex,
    I feel that you would be the first to defend Obama has an identical article been written about him and Rezko, so I’m kind of surprised that you would jump on this with so little in the way of actual evidence.

    ou’ve already had to apologize for your initial reaction to McCain and Hagee, after considering the same mertis on Obama and Wright. I think you’ll end up having to do the same there.

  2. Triumph says:

    I feel that you would be the first to defend Obama has an identical article been written about him and Rezko, so I’m kind of surprised that you would jump on this with so little in the way of actual evidence.

    Obama never peddled his influence as a Senator for Rezko. If you read the article on McCain you will see plenty of evidence that his office helped seal the deal on numerous land transfers and favorable governmental decisions on behalf of Donnie Diamond.

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    Michael,

    The differences between this issue and the Obama-Rezko issue are quite large. For one thing, as Triumph pointed out, Obama never actually did anything for Rezko. Secondly, the article cited quotes a large number of incidents spanning over a decade. Third, John McCain already has a history of influence peddling. Fourth and finally, I never said that he was guilty, merely that there’s sufficient information in the article to indicate that the issues should be pursued.

  4. Bithead says:

    Obama never peddled his influence as a Senator for Rezko

    Objection: Makes an argument based on evidence not yet admitted. Nor will it be, since we canntot prove a negative.

    Fourth and finally, I never said that he was guilty

    Ask yourself; If this had been going on for years as is suggested, why does it come up now?

  5. I don’t know if all the facts are in a row to state that McCain has been acting unethically with respect to Diamond, but the article definitely raises questions that are worth pursuing of the candidate.

    It’s not the evidence, it’s the seriousness of the accusations that demand we investigate! Hmm…, haven’t we been down this path before?

    Your casual slanders at the end of each post on John McCain do you a disservice. Read the link you provided regarding McCain’s history of such unethical conduct. You’ll find such items as this in the second paragraph:

    After a lengthy investigation, the Senate Ethics Committee determined in 1991 that Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, and Donald Riegle had substantially and improperly interfered with the FHLBB in its investigation of Lincoln Savings, while John Glenn and John McCain had been only minimally involved.

    And this from the end:

    Before McCain was named the presumptive nominee, The New York Times ran an article on January 28, 2008 revisiting the scandal in addition to some other allegations of inappropriate behavior by McCain. Robert S. Bennett, whom McCain had hired to represent him in this matter, defended McCain’s character and was one of many people who criticized the piece. Bennett, who was the special investigator during the Keating Five scandal that The Times revisited in the article, said that he fully investigated McCain back then and suggested to the Senate Ethics Committee to not pursue charges against McCain because of “no evidence against him.” Bennett was coincidentally on Hannity and Colmes the night the story broke to talk about his autobiography. On the show, he said that he felt the Committee pursued charges against McCain because, without him, the case would have been entirely against Democrats.

    Of course, perhaps Robert Bennett would lie to protect his client, but I doubt it. And maybe Senator McCain is dirty with respect to Mr. Diamond. I don’t know. But I do know you seem overly willing to jump on every accusation that gets thrown against the wall hoping it is going to stick.

    It is Spring. Take a moment to enjoy the flowers.

  6. Alex Knapp says:

    Charles,

    Did you read the article? Don’t you think that the claims are at least worth investigating further?

    John McCain’s got some shady stuff in his past, and his current campaign staff is comprised of several professional lobbyists.

    I don’t know if the allegations are true. I just know that there’s enough evidence to warrant a look.

  7. FWIW, I didn’t read the article. I’m not going to learn anything particularly relevant or new about John McCain. I remember the Keating Five scandal and all the players from when it took place. My opinions concerning Mr. McCain are pretty well set and nothing in the NY Times is going to sway my opinion much one way or the other. I don’t trust any politician beyond arm’s length and would accept any proven allegations at face value as further evidence in support of a smaller government.

    Investigate away. No one at the NY Times (or OTB) is going to ask me about any of this, so what does what I think matter? But the NY Times record of “proven” when it comes to these types of allegations is less than stellar, so I don’t get excited about every front page claim they make and start saying “Look! Look! See! See!” as if it suddenly validates my own biases.

    I’m not particularly a fan of John McCain and I’m not trying to defend him, particularly on any indefensible corruption allegations. Mostly, I’m just noting that you seem to be a little hyperactive at trying to denounce him — kind of like the NY Times when you think about it.

  8. anjin-san says:

    McCain is probably not involved in any more shaky dealings than the average senator, but he has presented himself as being squeaky clean, which certainly opens him to a high level of scrutiny.

    As for his “minimal” involvement with the Keating Five scandal, well, there was nothing minimal about the bill for the S&L bailout that was presented to the taxpayers. McCain was not in as deep as the other four, but he certainly does not get a pass on this.

    Obama & Rezko? If he did something illegal or unethical, lets see the proof. I might change my mind about supporting him. But if anyone things that there are any players in politics at the state or national level who do not have associations with some unsavory characters, I submit that you do not get out too much.

  9. sam says:

    Ask yourself; If this had been going on for years as is suggested, why does it come up now?

    Really, Bit, c’mon. There’s a whatchamacallit going on. Oh yeah, that would be a campaign for Preznint of the Newnited States.

  10. yetanotherjohn says:

    Hey Alex. I have a great idea for a post. Why don’t you compare and contrast this with how saint Obama can walk on water without having any undue influence in raising the big bucks for his wife’s company at the same time his wife gets the really big 6 digit raise after he gets elected US senator.

    Of course it may mean that you would have to find out that Obama really doesn’t walk on water, that the number of congress critters who have not ever helped out a political donor can fit into a phone booth and the favors that Obama has been doing for Rezko. I’m sure you will then post about how unfair it is to look at senators helping out donors, that you find it tiresome and everyone should just stop.

    I know you are in the tank for Obama, but do you even bother to stop and think about lines of attack that point straight back to Obama?

  11. Alex Knapp says:

    saint Obama can walk on water without having any undue influence in raising the big bucks for his wife’s company at the same time his wife gets the really big 6 digit raise after he gets elected US senator.

    Got an article on it? Send it my way and I’ll take a look. First I’ve heard of it.

    the favors that Obama has been doing for Rezko.

    My undestanding of the matter is that while Rezko did some favors for Obama, Obama didn’t recipriocate with the power of office. A quid without a pro quo, so to speak. You got evidence? Send it my way and I’ll read it.

  12. Brian says:

    I have a great idea for a post. Why don’t you compare and contrast this with how saint Obama can walk on water…

    I think that the Obama/Rezko ordeal received its fair share of scrutiny. McCain’s problem is the timing. I’m never opposed to any investigation of an elected official when it comes to money and favors. Especially those who are a serious contender for the presidency.

  13. Bithead says:

    Really, Bit, c’mon. There’s a whatchamacallit going on. Oh yeah, that would be a campaign for Preznint of the Newnited States.

    Well, of course… I knew there was something to that. Couldn’t remember what.

    So let’s check this; You’re telling me that justice isn’t the issue, political victory IS?

    Hmmm. Sounds Clintonesque, to me.

  14. paromita baidya roy says:

    we the people demand that u s attorney general appoint a special prosecutor to investigate felony violations by mccain for various misconducts by him in ofice or power. mccain needs injction or vaccines to correct hismisconducts. It is regretting that u s attoney general is slow on the issuesviz influence peddling for free use of woman beauty for casual sexial pursuit in paxson bueness_ female love for companionhip, of course such compnionship arouses good feelings to elderly john mccain , u s senator_u s for sale triangle. r kamal k k roy filed complaints in courts for court ordered investigation to protect we the people in usa to accidentally getting a felon, to be proved on indictments on mccain and his trial which may lead to free correction house jail for misconducts replace his dreams to go to white house, as legal occupant.
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    SEARCH: washingtonpost.com Web | Search Archives

    washingtonpost.com > ColumnsYour Comments On…

    Arizona’s Booster Socialism

    A new imbroglio about an old and discredited practice.

    – By George F. Will

    CommentsLISANROY wrote:

    ColumnsYour Comments On…

    Arizona’s Booster Socialism

    A new imbroglio about an old and discredited practice.

    – By George F. Will

    CommentsLISANROY wrote:

    obama. hillary and mcCain all three have shown their deficits in public image which create deep concern among we the people in usa to investgate/ reopen investigations on female lobbyist pleasure pursuit for influence pedalling (felony charg)against, i r s tax fraud by obama for easy and convinient financing of r /e deal involving obamas house in illinois , in assistance of rezco but obama criminally did not report to i r s for his gain in money in sweet_heart financing on the deal, even gain in illegal conduct on this , the shrewed obama , as reported did not report gain to irs, and that a felony; similarly hillary 1/2 successfully evaded issue of corruption in her involvement in white water r/e scandal , which she temporarily delayed or evaded in wearing cloak of a clintonian first woman. she is not wearing any defence cloak, so f b i et al lawfully and easily punish her for her abusive tendency to common we the people. many in arkansas lost money for hillary’s high handed orruption . We the people in usa should not reawad her with u s presidency and we the people would like to see her established in a correction house for her corruption if proved in laws of u s court and bar her for a federal full time job of u s president w e f 1.20. 2009′

    poor saps who bought Brokaw’s story–like me–don’t fret. So did Rep. Lacy Clay, Obama’s Missouri co-chairman and pledged Obama superdelegate himself. Clay told the Columbia Missourian yesterday that the 50 superdelegates would come out of the closet “later this week”–and then took the stats one step further, claiming that “the campaign is Obama’s.” “[Sen. Clinton] will not make up those numbers,” Clay said. “This race is over.” Which wouldn’t have been true in any case–an additional 200 or so superdelegates would’ve still remained uncommitted, and Clinton and Obama would’ve been roughly tied among these party leaders. But it’s even less true today.

    Now that Clinton’s death-defying wins in Texas and Ohio have prolonged the contest and slowed Obama’s momentum among party poobahs, there’s a bigger story to watch: an increasing willingness among superdelegates to band together and seek concessions from the presidential candidates in return for votes at the convention. Last night, the Politico reported that bloc of uncommitted Ohio supers–perhaps including Reps. March Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich, Tim Ryan, Zack Space, Betty Sutton and Charlie Wilson, and Sen. Sherrod Brown–is “withholding endorsements from Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton until one or the other offers a concrete proposal to protect American jobs,” according to two state Democrats.

    At this point, everyone knows that Obama and Clinton need superdelegate support to put them over the top–the superdelegates included. With the contest now likely to continue until the convention, I suspect it won’t be long before others start making similar demands

    3/16/2008 11:35:01 AM

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    markrw wrote:

    Ahh, George! You were so close! You and this conflation of speech and money. While you may be in line with the current courts, as someone obsessed with original intent, do you really believe that the founding fathers defined speech in such a way that would dis-proportionally award more speech (and therefore influence) to some and not others? Isn’t speech the very quality that a person has idependant of status and money? In the fusion of democracy and capitalism that currently defines American life, speech is the only freedom left that transcends class, but when you say that money is speech, then you disenfranchize all those without it – surely not an original intent. Oh, and where does the constitution directly say that money is speech? As a strict constructionist, isn’t that a problem?

    3/16/2008 11:34:33 AM

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    LISANROY wrote:

    3.16. 2008 opinion of dr the reverend kamal karna karuna roy aka and was born as joseph geronimk jr a guam us born clergy on vow of poverty, i r s rule, and pursuant to u s act 1978 a u s born citizen afor guam born people who were living in mainland usa on day of effective enforcement of law for guam island born people as u s born people status . dr roy as a child becam orphan (dob 3.31.2008 when parents were visiting as religious workers in east city of british india viz dacca city in a religious biased area pro islamic:in religious riot , then was frequent those days in dacca region of britisn india.:

    ColumnsYour Comments On…

    Arizona’s Booster Socialism

    A new imbroglio about an old and discredited practice.

    – By George F. Will

    CommentsLISANROY wrote:

    obama. hillary and mcCain all three have shown their deficits in public image which create deep concern among we the people in usa to investgate/ reopen investigations on female lobbyist pleasure pursuit for influence pedalling (felony charg)against, i r s tax fraud by obama for easy and convinient financing of r /e deal involving obamas house in illinois , in assistance of rezco but obama criminally did not report to i r s for his gain in money in sweet_heart financing on the deal, even gain in illegal conduct on this , the shrewed obama , as reported did not report gain to irs, and that a felony; similarly hillary 1/2 successfully evaded issue of corruption in her involvement in white water r/e scandal , which she temporarily delayed or evaded in wearing cloak of a clintonian first woman. she is not wearing any defence cloak, so f b i et al lawfully and easily punish her for her abusive tendency to common we the people. many in arkansas lost money for hillary’s high handed orruption . We the people in usa should not reawad her with u s presidency and we the people would like to see her established in a correction house for her corruption if proved in laws of u s court and bar her for a federal full time job of u s president w e f 1.20. 2009′

    poor saps who bought Brokaw’s story–like me–don’t fret. So did Rep. Lacy Clay, Obama’s Missouri co-chairman and pledged Obama superdelegate himself. Clay told the Columbia Missourian yesterday that the 50 superdelegates would come out of the closet “later this week”–and then took the stats one step further, claiming that “the campaign is Obama’s.” “[Sen. Clinton] will not make up those numbers,” Clay said. “This race is over.” Which wouldn’t have been true in any case–an additional 200 or so superdelegates would’ve still remained uncommitted, and Clinton and Obama would’ve been roughly tied among these party leaders. But it’s even less true today.

    Now that Clinton’s death-defying wins in Texas and Ohio have prolonged the contest and slowed Obama’s momentum among party poobahs, there’s a bigger story to watch: an increasing willingness among superdelegates to band together and seek concessions from the presidential candidates in return for votes at the convention. Last night, the Politico reported that bloc of uncommitted Ohio supers–perhaps including Reps. March Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich, Tim Ryan, Zack Space, Betty Sutton and Charlie Wilson, and Sen. Sherrod Brown–is “withholding endorsements from Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton until one or the other offers a concrete proposal to protect American jobs,” according to two state Democrats.

    At this point, everyone knows that Obama and Clinton need superdelegate support to put them over the top–the superdelegates included. With the contest now likely to continue until the convention, I suspect it won’t be long before others start making similar demands. dr roy now an ordained clergy registere with manhattan, city pof new york at 1 chamber strrt, new york new york since 1992 with world religions group priest and has been on vow of poverty declared under i r s rule since 1984 as a clergy of goup noeted. a theme of world religions doctrine is any person ofliving human existence can hold multiple religions and name_shake may god/s in any time in single body and soul of a person. thatis to say you could be chritian, a muslim , a hindu et el and follower of jesus, islam, hindu god/ gods BNrha, Vishnu, shjiva/ al in same body and soul , in giving simple notice of your faiths to public arpound you and or any approved public or court notifications and/or affidavits. a so called person with say christian faith onverted to world religions shall keep original faith as religion and all other religions as addititional faithe, and each the religions shall be beneficially covered for thje sid person viz multle marital rights for muslim males shall be covered for all peole who embraced world religions faith by declaration befoe a clergy or notifications in public. additionally marital benefits and equities of religions and marital rules shall be same i e women in islamic fiths et al is declared to be entitled to multiple marriages on need demand.