McCain and the Straight Talk Express to Lobbyville
If the Straight Talk Express is funded by campaign contributions, Mr. Black’s lobbying work there arguably constitutes a violation (possibly, a per-incident violation) of campaign finance laws since Sen. McCain is providing office space for non-campaign-related activities. Were Mr. Black's outbound and inbound calls unplanned and extraordinary, fair argument could be made that his presence on the bus and the lobbying work were coincidental; however, the Washington Post claims, "Black said he does a lot of his work by telephone from McCain's Straight Talk Express bus," thereby denying the McCain campaign any claim of coincidence between Black's general lobbying activities and the campaign-funded facilities in which those activities are being carried out.
If the Federal Elections Commission does not move aggressively on McCain and his campaign with regard to this matter, it would be the responsible citizen's prerogativeindeed, it would be that citizen's dutyto vociferously bring to the attention of the mainstream media, and anyone else who might listen, this story of compelling allegations of a presidential campaign now indistinguishable from Beltway lobbyists who manage and use it.
Whether or not the Arizona Senator once had an intimate relationship with a lobbyist and used his chairmanship of a committee to advance her client's interests, the matter of Mr. Black's use of Sen. McCain's campaign-funded assets is of immediate import and intersects campaign finance laws that Sen. McCain, himself, was a champion in reforming with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-155), known informally as the McCain-Feingold Act.
Ultimately, it will be up to the Federal Elections Commission to determine whether Sen. McCain's campaign has violated law and regulations with respect to Mr. Black's conduct of lobbying business on the Straight Talk Express; but beyond the considerations of the FEC, voters contemplating the quality and character of a presidential hopeful should be made aware of the manner in which each candidate conducts his or her campaign and the extent to which that conduct comports with the aspirant's rhetoric.
In the case of John McCain, a pall is swiftly enshrouding a man who was once a war hero and a leader, but who is now giving at least the remarkable appearance of being little more than a politician inextricably mired in the sleazy world of lobbyists, sex, and money that is the intolerable yet enduring underbelly of life among the powerful in the nation's capitol.