"The old John McCain wouldn’t have allowed one of Jack Abramoff’s top cronies to raise money for him. But this time around, it’s clear that Senator McCain is willing to do whatever it takes to win–even if that means embracing President Bush’s policies, his tactics, and now his disgraced fundraisers. The American people want a real change, not the same old Washington politics that Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed perfected," said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor.
Of course, the old John McCain was one of the Keating Five so that may be a bit generous.
Reed lost his 2006 campaign for Georgia lieutenant governor in large part because of details about his relationship with Abramoff — much of the information uncovered by McCain’s Indian Affairs Committee investigation into the wide-ranging lobbying corruption scandal.
The Senate probe discovered $4 million in payments Reed accepted to run a bogus anti-casino campaign aimed at reducing gambling competition. An Indian tribe with a competing casino made payments to Reed, which according to the Senate investigation’s final report, were “passed through” Abramoff’s firm, Preston, Gates, Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, and another organization, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform.
On the campaign trail, McCain often touts his work tackling Abramoff’s corrupt lobbying practices as evidence of his commitment to cleaning up Washington and a straight-shooting style that transcends politics.