Wednesday, February 20, 2008

John McCain Lobbyist Scandal With Vicki Iseman About Power

The MSN and the Internet in the form of thousands of emails on the Barack Obama listservs were abuz with the news about John McCain's association with a beautiful lobbyist Vicki Iseman. The association between the two is eight years old and while Senator McCain says there was no sexual relationship, in my view there was a "power association" -- a marriage of a Senator flattered by the attention of a smart, lovely young woman who knew the ropes in Washington, and her desire to be in the company of a senior elected official who could open doors for her.

Vicki Iseman is no slouch. A look at the bio on her website will tell you that:

Vicki Iseman, Partner, represents corporate and public clients on issues as diverse as government contracting and regulatory reform. Her experience includes representation of clients before Congress, Federal government agencies and local opinion leaders.

She has extensive experience in telecommunications, representing corporations before the House and Senate Commerce Committees. Her work on the landmark 1992 and 1996 communications bills helped secure cable access for broadcast television stations. Her experience in the communications field includes digital television conversion, satellite regulations and telecommunications ownership provisions.

She has been active in grassroots communications campaigns for clients, building community based support for legislative initiatives. Among others, she participated in the "Keep America Moving" campaign that educated community leaders on the allocation of Federal highway trust funds.

In addition, she has consulted for clients who are interested in government contracting opportunities. She has assisted corporations through the authorization and appropriation process. An active fundraiser, she has organized and participated in many political fundraising events.

A native of Pennsylvania, she holds a B.A. degree in Education from Indiana University in Pennsylvania.

(Note: the company took her bio off their main site, but a cached version is at the Huff Post. )

Iseman is skilled in getting earmarks for her clients. Earmarks are expenditures for projects in an area of interest to an elected official. While, it's not clear -- yet -- that she helped McCain in that area, it's documented that by 2006, she'd become a name partner in her firm and quite good at the practice.

And Vicky's client list is extensive:

American Maglev Technology


Arison Family Trust


BearingPoint Inc

CACI International


Capstar Broadcasting Partners

Carnival Corp

City of Miami, FL

City of Palm Springs, CA

Click Radio

Computer Sciences Corp

Future Leaders of America

Hillsborough County

Hispanic Broadcasting Inc

Homer-Center School District

i2Telecom International

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Ion Media Networks

Jovan Broadcasting

Latona Assoc

Marin County, CA

National Stroke Assn

Operation Warm

Paxson Communications


Saga Communications

Sinclair Broadcast Group

Telemundo Network Group

Total Living Network

Tulare County

Univision Communications

Walter Industries

I don't think this is a case of a classic sex scandal and to look at it that way is to miss what in my view is a much richer story: a tale of how McCain made relationships with lobbyists and very much before his relatively new efforts to curb lobbiyst activities.

But one does have to wonder if McCain's sudden war on lobbyists had something to do with his relationship with Ms. Iseman. Time will tell.

Major News From Barack Obama

I received this e-mail message from Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama less than an hour ago.

david --

We learned something extraordinary since I wrote to you last night.

We've crunched all the numbers and discovered that we are within striking distance of something historic: one million people donating to this campaign.

Think about that ... nearly one million people taking ownership of this movement, five dollars or twenty-five dollars at a time.

We're already more than 900,000 strong, including over half-a-million donating so far this year. This unprecedented foundation of support has built a campaign that has shaken the status quo and proven that ordinary people can compete in a political process too often dominated by special interests.

Unlike Senator Clinton or Senator McCain, we haven't taken a dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. Our campaign is responsible to no one but the people.

One million donors would be a remarkable feat -- something that's never been done before in a presidential primary and something no one ever thought would be possible for us. And you still have the opportunity to be a part of it.

If you make a donation right now, one of those 900,000 donors has promised to give again in order to match your first gift. You can double the impact of your first donation -- and you can even choose to exchange a note about why you are part of this movement.

We started this improbable journey a little over a year ago in Springfield, Illinois.

And because you've joined together to make your voices heard, this journey isn't looking as improbable anymore.

Since our victory on February 5th, we've won ten straight contests.

But on March 4th, we face a huge challenge in Texas and Ohio, who will vote along with Rhode Island and Vermont. We are behind in the big states and need as many people involved as possible if we're going to win.

If we can reach our goal of one million donors by March 4th, we can send a powerful message that the Washington establishment and big-money interests cannot ignore.

As one million people with one voice, we can tell them that their days of dominating Washington are coming to an end -- the old politics are crumbling and a new voice is breaking through. Our voice.

I learned the power of ordinary people coming together as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago.

I worked side-by-side with people who had been laid off from steel plants that were moved overseas. These were people who needed new jobs to rebuild their lives, and their political leaders were ignoring them.

But even though the odds were stacked against them, they discovered that by coming together with one voice, they could no longer be ignored.

When we launched this campaign, we knew we were up against similar odds. We knew we'd be running against a massive political machine with deep ties to the Washington establishment.

We knew it wouldn't be easy.

But if we can do this, we're not just going to win an election. We're going to change our country.

Thank you so much,


John McCain Wins Wisconsin and Washington State Over Huckabee

John McCain is just a few steps closer to the Republican nomination with decisive wins on Tuesday and in Wisconsin and Washington State. But John's got a bigger problem and Amy Holmes and the Republican Party has an uphilll battle in that Barack Obama himself tonight has drawn more voters than the entire Republican Party has for all of the primary contests.


Barack Obama's Sweep: Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Washington State

Barack Obama has one again. He won decisively in both Wisconsin and Hawaii, and by 58 percent / 41 percent in Wisconsin, and a whopping 74 percent to 26 percent, respectively in Hawaii. That's ten straight wins for Obama and a fresh set of donors and fans.

But the campaign withstood what is the strongest challenge of negative press on the part of both the Clintons and the mainstream media. It's started with what I think was a misguided and vealedly racist attack on Barack's speeches as lacking substance. But then it got worse with attacks on Michelle Obama because she said that in her adult life she was finally proud to be an American.

I agree.

Clinton fans are wondering why she's not only losing, but being totally beaten in a landslide most of the time. The answer is simple. She's using the old style politics of divide and attack and it's not working. Many public officials know that you don't attack when it's not popular to do so.

I end this blog post with a video made by the University of Wisconsin chapter of Students for Obama: