News Release

With McCain Visiting the White House, New Spotlight on Lobbying Scandal


“At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust nor make a decision which in any way would not be in the public interest and would favor anyone or any organization.”
— Sen. John McCain, Feb. 21, 2008

Starr just wrote the Nation magazine piece “The Other Side of the McCain Lobbyist Scandal,” which states: “I don’t know whether Senator John McCain had sex with lobbyist Vickie Iseman, but I do know, first hand, that he broke the rules while doing the bidding of media mogul Lowell ‘Bud’ Paxson [for whom Iseman was working], a major contributor to McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign. McCain’s staff lied about it then and they are inventing new lies even now. …

“Now McCain’s camp has issued a 1,500-page document of ‘facts’ the recent New York Times exposé did not include, such as that ‘No representative of Paxson or Arcade and Fay asked McCain to send a letter to the FCC regarding this proceeding.’ However, within days, Paxson himself advised the Washington Post that both Iseman and he had met with McCain about the matter.

“At the time, according to well-documented reports, Paxson’s family, company and law firm were contributing tens of thousands of dollars to McCain’s campaign while McCain flew around on Paxson’s private jet to rallies and to fundraisers on Paxson’s yacht.”

Starr was co-chair of the Save Pittsburgh Public Television Campaign and wrote the book Air Wars: The Fight to Reclaim Public Broadcasting, about the battle for a public TV station in Pittsburgh that Paxson was seeking. Starr is now visiting professor of communication at the University of California at San Diego.

LINDA WAMBAUGH’s piece “Public Broadcasting Activists Refute McCain Campaign ‘Facts’ on FCC Letters” reports: “After the story broke, the McCain campaign distributed a lengthy document stating that the senator’s commerce committee staff ‘met with public broadcasting activists from the Pittsburgh area’ who opposed a controversial license swap involving Iseman’s client, Paxson Communications, before it sent two letters to the Federal Communication Commission urging the commissioners to vote on the issue. …

“Starr’s co-chair on the campaign, Linda Wambaugh, said that she and Starr handled all the lobbying for [the] campaign. ‘We were it. Anything would have come through us,’ said Wambaugh. ‘There was absolutely no contact whatsoever — no meetings, no phone calls, no correspondence.'”

Currently director of the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center, Campbell was the attorney for the Save Pittsburgh Public Television Campaign.

She said today: “Some are claiming that McCain just asked the FCC to act, so he really wasn’t doing Paxson a favor. But Paxson needed the FCC to act by a certain date. The chair of the FCC was not inclined to take up the matter. McCain’s letters were clearly to Paxson’s favor.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167