McCain Says Yes to Lobbyist Money Connected to Tribes He Regulated
by Jonathan Singer, Mon May 07, 2007 at 10:29:18 PM EDT
In the past decade and a half, John McCain has tried to position himself as the paragon of virtue in Washington, for instance campaigning on behalf of campaign finance reform in an attempt to inoculate himself from the charges that he was too close with the lobbying community, a perception based on his connection to the Keating Five scandal. But for all of his posturing, just how far has McCain moved himself away from K Street? The Hill's Susan Crabtree takes a look at McCain's efforts to bring in lobbyist cash linked with some of the Indian tribes he once helped regulate as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who led the Senate Indian Affairs Committee investigation into the Jack Abramoff scandal, has sworn off taking tribal money in his presidential campaign but continues to accept donations from lobbyists whose firms represent tribal clients.
McCain spokesman Danny Diaz said the senator believes that tribes can spend their money in other ways. He added that McCain implemented the ban on tribal money when he became chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in the midst of the Abramoff scandal, before the panel began probing the tens of millions of dollars the tribes paid the former lobbyist.
Diaz, however, would not explain why McCain would not extend that policy to lobbyists representing tribes.
With his lackluster first-quarter presidential fundraising numbers, however, McCain cannot afford to alienate potential donors on K Street, many of whom either represent tribes or tribal interests directly or are employed at firms with lucrative tribal clients.
Over the past several months I've tried to detail at length how despite his perception as a maverick, John McCain is just a politician like any other, perhaps only atypical in his cynicism and his insatiable ambition. His list of politically-timed flip-flops is probably too long to even detail here, but some of the choice details of his career exposed in recent months include that he approached the Democrats about leaving the Senate GOP caucus in 2001 and that his team approached John Kerry about forming a unity ticket in 2004 (which was reported first here on MyDD). McCain's notable changes on issues in recent months have included a noticeable shift to the right on immigration reform and now, apparently, his not-so-subtle move to accept lobbying money connected with the Indian tribes he once helped regulate. With actions like these, it should come as little surprise that McCain is doing so poorly in head-to-head polling against some of his potential Democratic competitors for the White House in 2008.