You tell me – is the "Straight Talk Express" really all about the Benjamins?
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took a break from the presidential campaign trail in March to fly to a posh Utah ski resort, where he mingled with hundreds of top corporate executives assembled by J.P. Morgan Chase for its annual leadership conference.
McCain’s appearance at the Deer Valley event, arranged by J.P. Morgan Vice Chairman James B. Lee Jr., a top McCain fundraiser, put him in a room with the chief executives of companies such as General Electric, Xerox and Sony. It was, Lee said, "a chance for him to let them see him for who he is and possibly decide to support him." The effort paid off: J.P. Morgan executives have donated $56,250 to McCain’s campaign, two-thirds of which came after his Utah appearance. And his visit there was quickly followed up by dozens of smaller private meetings with corporate executives in New York City arranged by leading Wall Street figures.
"We tried to get him around to a lot of those kinds of things," said McCain campaign manager Rick Davis. "We were very much in the friend-making business."
It is common for politicians to court big money during a campaign. But private schmooze sessions such as the gathering in Utah pose a particular dilemma for McCain, who has spent a long career decrying "special interests" and politicians who offer special access to them in order to raise money. As a presidential candidate this year, McCain has found himself assiduously courting both lobbyists and their wealthy clients, offering them private audiences as part of his fundraising. He also counts more than 30 lobbyists among his chief fundraisers, more than any other presidential contender. (emphasis mine)
Straight Talk Express…just leave the money in an unmarked envelope under the table…
(H/T to John Anderson’s Follow the Money on the "all about the Benjamins." Sadly, that phrase comes to mind far too frequently…)