McCain Repeatedly Lobbied FCC on Behalf of Campaign Donors
Since The New York Times's explosive story on Feb. 21, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has been under intense scrutiny for his willingness to use his former position as chair of the Senate Commerce Committee to benefit campaign contributors.
In 1999,McCain wrote two controversial letters to the FCC on behalf of broadcaster and campaign contributor Lowell "Bud" Paxson. He urged the commissioners to make a "rapid decision on Paxson's quest to acquire a Pittsburgh television station." McCain had flown on Paxson's corporate jet on four occasions, and received $28,000 in contributions from Paxson and his law firm.
McCain has insisted that his letter-writing had nothing to do with Paxson. In fact, he claimed that he wasn't even on Paxson's side; he simply wanted the FCC to make a decision.
Yet the Paxson case wasn't an isolated incident. In 2000, reporters reviewed 2,000 pages of correspondences from McCain and his staff. They found that "in the vast majority of those particularly regulatory matters were Mr. McCain himself sent a letter, the interested parties had contributed to his presidential or Senate campaigns" [New York Times, 1/6/00]. Some examples: