by dday

Bud Paxson has now officially contradicted St. Maverick on his blanket statement that he never met with the broadcasting mogul, which of course was already contradicted by John McCain himself in a sworn deposition.

Broadcaster Lowell "Bud" Paxson today 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 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, attended the meeting in McCain's office and that Iseman helped arrange the meeting. "Was Vicki there? Probably," Paxson said in an interview with The Washington Post today. "The woman was a professional. She was good. She could get us meetings."

Of course she could get meetings with John McCain. The man has a soft spot for lobbyists. And it's something when your alibi is "But I never show up for work!"

"Senator McCain was actively engaged in a presidential campaign in 1999-2000, and according to his calendar, the last day he conducted business in the Senate was November 8, 1999, and was frequently absent from the Senate prior to that date," the statement said.

"He returned to the Senate the night of November 19, 1999, for one hour to participate in a budget vote, and the Senate adjourned shortly thereafter on November 22, 1999. Between November 22, 1999 and Christmas, the Senator did not return to the Senate for any substantive meetings as he was involved in a national book tour and a presidential campaign."

Why should I be impressed that you were on a book tour instead of doing your job?

So now here's yet another drip of the faucet, with McCain absolutely caught in a lie, contradicted by everybody involved. And of course, the scenario of McCain doing favors for corporate interests who contributed to his campaigns and let him use the corporate jet is a wormhole into his long history of close involvement with lobbyists. Whatever he did with Iseman, she was certainly around the 2000 campaign, bragging about her access, and told to put and end to it (by named source John Weaver). McCain was holding fundraisers arranged by the lobbying firm aboard the yacht from a cruise line they represented (and he sponsored bills to deregulate the cruise line industry around that same time). And this isn't just a side issue from 2000, it's basically the same setup right now. He has more lobbyists raising money for him than any Presidential candidate. He has more lobbyists on staff than any Presidential candidate. And while he defended them in comments today, these aren't people who represent the poor or the environment or Constitutional rights. They're folks like Charlie Black, the guy who runs his lobbying shop out of the back of the Straight Talk Express bus (no lie).

Among the loudest McCain mouthpieces is Charlie Black, a seasoned Republican operative whose client roster dates back to such paragons as the late Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos and several African dictators, and more recently has featured Erik Prince, the mercenary entrepreneur who founded Blackwater. (Black's wife is a lobbyist too, and his firm, known as BKSH, is owned by Burson-Marsteller, the enormous P.R. conglomerate chaired by Hillary Clinton's top campaign advisor, Mark Penn.) McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, is also a lobbyist, whose client interests in the broadcasting and cable industry overlapped with those represented by Iseman and her firm, Alcalde & Fay. During the off years between presidential elections, Davis collected donations from companies regulated by the Senate Commerce Committee, chaired by his boss McCain, for the amusingly named "Reform Institute," which also paid handsome sinecures to Davis and various other McCain campaign consultants. McCain's chief fundraiser is Tom Loeffler, a prominent lobbyist and former Texas congressman whose clients range from PhRMA to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The print media is aggressively reporting this story, as the broadcast media tries to hold back the floodgates. The New York Times deserves some criticism for leading with the sex angle and going with sourcing that was a little thin. But all of these allegations about McCain's lobbyist ties have been out there for some time. They even got printed every so often, but always on the back pages of the paper. It took a bombshell to get the media to take notice. Now that they have, we can all see that the sex angle really doesn't have much to do with the fact that Mr. Reform, Mr. Straight Talk, Mr. Maverick, is actually just Mr. John McSame, another Republican crook who rewards those who reward him. And wait until they get to the defense contracts he's shoveled to constituents in Arizona.