At a townhall meeting in New Hampshire last November, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told the audience that he’s never allowed himself to be corrupted by lobbyist money:
Everybody says that they’re against the special interests. I’m the only one the special interests don’t give any money to.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, McCain has taken nearly $1.2 million in campaign contributions from the telephone utility and telecom service industries, more than any other Senator. McCain sides with the telecom companies on retroactive immunity.
McCain is also the single largest recipient of campaign contribution by Ion Media Networks — formerly Paxson Communication — receiving $36,000 from the company and employees from 1997 to mid-year 2006.
In 2004, as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, McCain reversed a position and took “crucial legislative action” that saved Paxson Communications from “financial ruin.” Drew Clark reports:
McCain initially supported legislation that would have forced Paxson and handful of broadcasters — but not the great bulk of television stations — off the air by December 31, 2006. Bud Paxson himself personally testified about this bill with “fear and trepidation” at a hearing on September 8, 2004.
Two weeks later, McCain had reversed himself. He now supported legislation that would grant two-year reprieve for Paxson — and instead force all broadcasters to stop transmitting analog television by December 31, 2008. Paxson and his lobbyists, including Iseman, were working at this time for just such a change.
Vicki Iseman has represented Paxson since 1998, longer than any of her other clients. The Washington Post reports that Iseman’s clients have given nearly $85,000 to McCain campaigns since 2000, according to records at the Federal Election Commission.
UPDATE: Huffington Post reported recently:
All told, McCain has received more than $400,000 from lobbying firms, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And among his major fundraisers (“bundlers”) 59 have been identified as lobbyists by the non-profit organization Public Citizen.