McCain Ties to Female Lobbyist Questioned

Candidate denies Times allegations of romance, impropriety
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2008 9:13 PM CST
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., addresses a packed house at Young's Jersey Dairy restaurant, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008, in Yellow Springs, Ohio. (AP Photo/Skip Peterson)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – In his last run for the presidency, John McCain developed a close relationship with a female lobbyist that worried his advisers so much they intervened with both McCain and the woman to keep them apart, the New York Times reports. The paper cites the incident in a lengthy look at McCain's track record on his signature issue of ethics and finds that the candidate is sometimes prone to embarrassing conflicts of interest.

McCain, 71, and Vicki Iseman, 40, deny that the relationship became romantic, though his top advisers thought otherwise, or that McCain acted improperly on her behalf. “I have never betrayed the public trust by doing anything like that,” he told the Times' publisher in protesting the article. He did, however, earn a rebuke from the FCC for trying to speed up a TV deal for one of her clients. McCain is especially vulnerable because his political career nearly ended in the 1980s over the Keating Five S&L scandal, and he has championed ethical reform since.