Washington, DC - On the campaign trail, John McCain likes to brag about chairing the Senate Indian Affairs Committee that investigated criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff's role in the Republican culture of corruption. But that is not stopping John McCain from raising campaign cash with one of Abramoff's closest business partners: scandal plagued conservative activist Ralph Reed. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Reed has "agreed to serve as a member of the McCain Victory 2008 Team" and will host a fundraiser for his campaign on Monday, August 18.
In 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy charges after a federal investigation unearthed an extensive effort to buy influence with Republican lawmakers by showering them with gifts and campaign contributions. Emails made public during the investigation revealed that Reed had received at least $4.2 million from Abramoff to help his clients. Despite his shady ties to Abramoff, McCain never called Reed to testify before his committee. In fact, despite acknowledging wrongdoing among his colleagues, McCain refused to investigate fellow Republicans in Congress. Now, despite the scandal surrounding Reed--and despite objections from nonpartisan watchdog groups--The Hill reports that McCain is refusing to cancel Monday's fundraiser. [Washington Post, 1/16/06; The Hill, 8/13/08]
DNC Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement on McCain's double talk on ethics and lobbying reform:
"John McCain's decision to cozy up to one of the central figures in the Republican culture of corruption shows how far HE IS is willing to go to win. Despite all of his rhetoric about reform, McCain's willingness to accept tainted money raised by tainted Abramoff cronies like Ralph Reed shows that McCain simply cannot be trusted to bring change to Washington politics. A maverick no more, the John McCain of 2000 wouldn't even consider voting for the John McCain of 2008."