Hypocrite of the decade
The dubious award goes to John McCain, co-author of the Campaign Finance Reform bill, who wants to take the financial influence out of politics so long as it doesn't affect his finances.
Sen. John McCain pressed a cable company's case for pricing changes with regulators at the same time a tax-exempt group that he has worked with since its founding solicited $200,000 in contributions from the company.That isn't all.
Help from McCain, who argues for ridding politics of big money, included giving the CEO of Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC) the opportunity to testify before his Senate committee, writing a letter of support to the Federal Communication Commission and asking other cable companies to support so-called a la carte pricing.
McCain's assistance in 2003 and 2004 was sandwiched around two donations of $100,000 each from Cablevision to The Reform Institute, the tax-exempt group that touts McCain's views and has showcased him at events since his unsuccessful 2000 presidential campaign.Anyone who has ever had to deal with the legislative process at any level knows that entree is everything. How difficult do you think it would be for a large donor who pays a Senator's assistant six figures annually to get an audience with the Senator to discuss an issue that matters to the donor?
The group also pays $110,000 a year to McCain's chief political adviser, Rick Davis, who ran the senator's 2000 presidential campaign. Cablevision's money accounted for 15 percent of the institute's fund raising in 2003, according to its most recent tax filing.
As if that isn't enough, McCain actually has the temerity to argue that there's no conflict of interest in this cozy arrangement.
The Arizona Republican said he saw nothing wrong with the group raising money from a company whose issue he championed, because the donations didn't go to his re-election campaign. McCain and documents provided by his office show he has supported a la carte pricing since at least 1998, well before Cablevision advocated it.Notice how McCain couches his comments with "legitimate appearance" of a conflict? He can't even bring himself to admit an obvious conflict!
"If it was a PAC (political action committee) or if it was somehow connected to any campaign of mine, I would say to you, that's a legitimate appearance of conflict of interest. But it's not," McCain told The Associated Press.
"There's not a conflict of interest when you're involved in an organization that is nonpartisan, nonprofit, nonpolitical."Uh, John, please look up "quid pro quo" in any decent dictionary.
There are no words to describe the level of disgust I have for a politician who will exclaim, without a hint of sarcasm, that donations to a non-profit organization that he personally supports and corresponding votes in favor of issues that the donors are championing are unrelated and don't constitute a conflict of interest.
What galls me even more is that McCain's dissembling will earn him a pass from many who are enamored by his POW story or his "bi-partisanship". He should be drummed out of town on a rail. At least other politicians that are on the take don't insult our intelligence with lies that are so obvious.