I know the big McCain story for today is the one covering McCain's inappropriate and intimate friendship with influential lobbiest Vicki Iseman. It would certainly be sensational if Iseman, 30 years younger than McCain, did in fact have more than a professional relationship with McCain. However, the real story in that story IMHO opinion is not any innuendo of an affair but that once again it exposes John "Do as I say not as I do" McCain ethical problems.
You would think that after being implicated the Savings & Loans scandal which cost US taxpayer dollars billions, ala the Keating 5, that McCain would really smarten up about conflict of interests and obvious influence peddling relationships.
As a married man, McCain had no real reason to be so close to Iseman and as the chairman of the Senate commerce committee with whom Iseman's clients had business, McCain must have known better. You cannot cavort with lobbiests in private while publicly admonishing them. It's called duplicity and hypocrisy.
McCain is either unable to see such an obvious conflict of interest -- or worse, he's unwilling to acknowledge it. And that is very troubling.
BUT that's not the subject of this story though coupled with the Iseman story, "straight talking" McCain's ethical take on himself seems to be self-righteous and another well-fabricated political spin machine in operation.
Ok, already, what are we talking about? The FEC is investigating John McCain for possibly misleading (diplomatic speak for "lying") them so that he could get a loan from them back when his candidacy was struggling at the beginning of the campaign.
And get this: They are threatening to FORCE John McCain to take public financing if he doesn't testify before them about the conditions he accepted for his loan. In other words, John McCain may get stuck with the $85 million limitation that public financing places on him!
And what librul at the FEC is challenging McCain to prove his integrity? Why none other than the REPUBLICAN chairman of theFEC, David Mason, in a letter directed to McCain.
Federal Election Commission Chairman David Mason, in a letter to McCain this week, said the all-but-certain Republican nominee needs to assure the commission that he did not use the promise of public money to help secure a $4 million line of credit he obtained in November.
Citing the loan agreement, Mason wrote: "We note that in your letter, you state that neither you nor your (presidential campaign) committee has pledged the certification of matching payment funds as security for private financing. In preparation for commission consideration of your request upon establishment of a quorum, we invite you to expand on the rationale for that conclusion."
This couldn't come at a worse time for McCain. We've already heard about the Iseman-lobbiest story. Now this story, where the FEC is investigating John McCain for possibly misleading the FEC to get a loan to keep his campaign afloat. At least, McCain looks like he's backing out of a legal contract -- not exactly an ethical or fiscally responsible thing to do.
But here's a more pragmatic problem: if McCain is forced to his pledge, he can't spend more than $54 million for the Republican primaries -- and he's almost approached that number! If McCain suddenly goes dark, it will help Huckabee. It probably won't be enough to give Huckabee the win given McCain big lead - but it will make it that much more difficult for McCain to connect with voters who may not see as much of him.
I personally can't believe that it's going to happen. The Chair is Republican and he'll get all kinds of pressure to back off. But this does embarrass McCain again - on top of the Iseman-lobbiest-affair story.
Now here's a final teaser: FEC Chair Mason said he needs the votes of 4 commissioners to accept McCain's withdrawal from public financing. Unfortunately, the commission only has 2 members because Republicans are fighting Democrats on who should fill the final four spots.
And if the commission isunable to meet to resolve the matter, then the Democratically controlled Senate has to give McCain permission to back out of public financing.
I know, I know! This is too good to be true - BUUUUUT (1) it's further embarrasses McCain, (2) it proves how hypocritical McCain's ethics are, and (3) it just might MIIIGHT happen!