John McCain And Vicki Iseman And The Affair

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Business just picked up. Breaking in the NY Times now...

Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, in his offices and aboard a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s clients, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.

Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.

It had been just a decade since an official favor for a friend with regulatory problems had nearly ended Mr. McCain’s political career by ensnaring him in the Keating Five scandal. In the years that followed, he reinvented himself as the scourge of special interests, a crusader for stricter ethics and campaign finance rules, a man of honor chastened by a brush with shame.

UPDATE: What was John McCain's role in this federal grant?

A three-year project that would dramatically change the face of science education in the Homer-Center School District has been earmarked for $100,000 in the next federal budget.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has approved the funding in the 2007 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill.

The federal grant is the first that the district has requested. It’s the first round of funding that the district proposed for its Rural Science and Technology Education Project, according to grant papers provided by the district.

...

The district hired Alcalde & Fay in September 2005 at a fee of $4,000 a month to help Homer-Center compete for grants normally awarded to universities, museums and schools in metropolitan areas.

“We are very happy; the fact we received funding in our first attempt speaks well for everyone especially Vicki Iseman and Alcalde & Fay,” Marcoline said.

Were any favors exchanged for this?
MORE:
* Countdown: McCain In Bed With Lobbyist. No, Really In Bed With Lobbyist
* Was John McCain Getting "Lobbied" By A Woman Thirty Years His Junior?
UPDATE: The Washington Post adds more to the apparent relationship between John McCain and Vicki Iseman.

John Weaver, who served as McCain's closest confidant until leaving his current campaign last year, said he met with Vicki Iseman at the Center Cafe in Union Station and urged her to stay away from McCain. Association with a lobbyist would undermine his image as an opponent of special interests, aides had concluded.

...

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.

Concern about Iseman's presence around McCain at one point led to her being banned from his Senate office, according to sources close to McCain.

>> Vicki Iseman And Cindy McCain: Twins? Separated At Birth?

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