McCain Denies Charges of Impropriety with Lobbyist

Calls female lobbyist a 'friend,' denies any 'unwarranted access or influence'
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2008 8:18 AM CST
Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., accompanied by his wife Cindy, speaks at a news conference in Toledo, Ohio. Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A subdued John McCain, flanked by his wife, held a press conference today to deny all charges in a New York Times story alleging improprieties involving a female lobbyist. Saying he is "disappointed" in the Times, and that the story alleging a romantic relationship is "not true," McCain said that he and Vicki Iseman are just friends, and that he did not do favors for her as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. He said no former staffer ever spoke to him about an appearance of impropriety in his relationship with Iseman, as several claimed to the Times.

"I have many friends who represent various interests in Washington—including those before my committee," McCain said. "I had meetings with hundreds of them. It was my job." He also said his record shows no "unwarranted access or influence" for Iseman or anyone else. He criticized the Times for relying on anonymous sources; when asked about  former top aid Jeff Weaver, who was a named source, he said, "I don't know anything about that... Since it was in the New York Times, I don't take it at face value."