Thursday, February 21, 2008


It looks like Iseman is tied to the Swiftboaters.

This just gets better and better.

Specifically, as Marcy Wheeler reveals, she's tied to Paxson and Sinclair Broadcasting, two media companies that were trying to run an anti-Kerry Swiftboater hitpiece days before the 2004 election, before they were overrun by bloggers.

In both cases, Marcy raises pointed questions about intercessions that McCain may have made on their (and, thus, Iseman's) behalf. Paxson was the beneficiary of a forceful letter from McCain to the FCC on their behalf. Sinclair, on the other hand, owns the private jet that Iseman and McCain liked flying around on so much, and were caught running a shell company in order to dominate media markets through false "competition."

Both would logically be lobbying the hell out of the FCC, right? They were shooting for consolidation, and in both cases (after the slaps on the wrist) were relatively successful. Yeah, you'd think so, except...

Sinclair itself did less than $20,000 of lobbying in 1999, 2000, and 2001 (the years during which its two-station shell gimmick was under investigation); another lobbying firm did less than $10,000 of lobbying in 1999 and 2000. Shaw Pittman (which has a retired partner serving on Sinclair's board) was also registered as a Sinclair lobbyist at the time, though it reported no activity. Which suggests the better part of the lobbying done in this period was done by Iseman and her colleagues (listed as $80,000 a year)--and done primarily through Congress, without contacting the FCC directly.

And at least according to what other lobbyists have to say about Iseman, her big asset in her lobbying portfolio was her access to John McCain.

Three telecom lobbyists and a former McCain aide, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Iseman spoke up regularly at meetings of telecom lobbyists in Washington, extolling her connections to McCain and his office. She would regularly volunteer at those meetings to be the point person for the telecom industry in dealing with McCain's office.

It sure makes you wonder how much that access contributed to Sinclair getting off so lightly for using a shell corporation to evade restrictions on media ownership, doesn't it? And it sure makes McCain's complaints about media consolidation--particularly as it relates to consolidation his friend Iseman helped push through--rather hypocritical.

Wheeler does note that the companies in question benefited Bush far more than they did McCain, and the questions that raises: why did McCain go to bat for them, and why is McCain so tied to these Bush-backing corps?

What did Iseman bring to the table to get McCain on board with these companies? Marcy doubts it was sexual in nature, and though I'm not so charitable, I'll grant that that was unlikely to be the principal motivating factor. But then if it wasn't that, what was it?

No comments:

Post a Comment