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McCain is for sale, just like the rest

By
April 22, 2008

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP candidate for Presidents, portrays himself as a “straight talker” who avoids back room,deal making politics.

In truth, McCain is just another politician on the take, ready and willing to do anything to help a fatcat friend with deep pockets and lots of pull.

And one of McCain’s best friends is an Arizona deal-maker named Donald R. Diamond.

Reports The New York Times:

Donald R. Diamond, a wealthy Arizona real estate developer, was racing to snap up a stretch of virgin California coast freed by the closing of an Army base a decade ago when he turned to an old friend, Senator John McCain.

When Mr. Diamond wanted to buy land at the base, Fort Ord, Mr. McCain assigned an aide who set up a meeting at the Pentagon and later stepped in again to help speed up the sale, according to people involved and a deposition Mr. Diamond gave for a related lawsuit. When he appealed to a nearby city for the right to develop other property at the former base, Mr. Diamond submitted Mr. McCain’s endorsement as “a close personal friend.”

Writing to officials in the city, Seaside, Calif., the senator said, “You will find him as honorable and committed as I have.”

Courting local officials and potential partners, Mr. Diamond’s team promised that he could “help get through some of the red tape in dealing with the Department of the Army” because Mr. Diamond “has been very active with Senator McCain,” a partner said in a deposition.

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.

In California, the McCain aide’s assistance with the Army helped Mr. Diamond complete a purchase in 1999 that he soon turned over for a $20 million profit. And Mr. McCain’s letter of recommendation reinforced Mr. Diamond’s selling point about his McCain connections as he pursued — and won in 2005 — a potentially much more lucrative deal to develop a resort hotel and luxury housing.

In Arizona, Mr. McCain has helped Mr. Diamond with matters as small as forwarding a complaint in a regulatory skirmish over the endangered pygmy owl, and as large as introducing legislation remapping public lands. In 1991 and 1994, Mr. McCain sponsored two laws sought by Mr. Diamond that resulted in providing him millions of dollars and thousands of acres in exchange for adding some of his properties to national parks. The Arizona senator co-sponsored a third similar bill now before the Senate.

4 Responses to McCain is for sale, just like the rest

  1. Janice

    April 22, 2008 at 9:50 am

    I am so utterly disgusted by the politicians who make it to the top. This is the fault of the faux news organizations, other politicians, and each and every one of us who do not take to the streets – myself included.

    So it seems McCain is the best this corrupt party has to offer – little wonder he is cut from the same cloth.

    It is really a wonder that I have not heard of any of this on any of the news. … what a shocker

    If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.
    Mark Twain

  2. RichardKanePA

    April 22, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    RichardKanePA

    Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial-complex.

    A tremendous advantage for lobbyists, under President Bush, is that when he gave them something he shouldn’t have, or was browbeat into doing so, Bush not the lobbyists got most of the blame when things went wrong.

    Under McCain the same thing will be true, people will get mad at him if all hell breaks loose under his term.

    But with Hillary, people will instead, if there is lingering war with Muslims, get furious at the Israeli lobby and at Halliburton and the oil lobby for promoting war.

    So Hillary might stop Obama, but she won’t be President because she won’t be able to deliver much to lobbyists without they, not her, getting the blame.

    Lobbyists may not be at this point planning for a McCain Presidency but before election day, they will know that their goose will be gored if Hillary messes up during a term in the White House, and will thus before fall election day, pouring their efforts toward him not Hillary if she is the Democratic nominee.

  3. Sandra Price

    April 22, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Very interesting comments Richard. You seem to put the blame on the Lobbyists and ignoring those who took the bribes. Do we blame McDonalds for making our kids fat and do we blame the banks when they are robbed?

    I remember when Lobbyists caught the Congress doing many disreputable things and we were thrilled to be able to locate those two-timing congresscritters. Now it seems that offering money is worse than accepting it and that makes no sense to me at all.

    I belong to an organization that has a couple of Lobbyists representing our group to keep the House and Senate out of the Constitution. We pay them a salary to keep an eye on the congress and the Supreme Court. We are a not-for-profit group and will never try to buy anyone…yet. If anyone tries to remove some of our liberties and rights, we want to know about it before it gets to the Congress.

    I got into a massive fight here at CHB (Reader Rant) when I did expose the Congressmen accepting bribes from various lobbyists. Most of them were Conservative Republicans and the entire forum turned on me to the point, I had to leave. This was before 2000 and the GOP was already corrupt has hell.

  4. sherry

    April 24, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Sandra, your lobbyists are not the corporate nasties. Your lobbysists are actually looking out for the American people and I thank you for your involvement.
    That said, I can’t stand it when the Medicare Drug bill is known as the “Pfizer” bill or the bankruptcy bill is known as the (aw heck I forgot the name of the bank, but you get the drift) “insert bank name”
    The mortgage crisis is a result of banks gone wild. It’s killing a lot of innocent people. They screw up and the taxpayers are bailing them out. Help for the homeowners? O no, no, no. That’s SOCIALISM. Nanny government.
    O good grief. I am ranting again. Sandra, the fact is all parties sleep with the same lobbyists. I am grateful for your work