Pro-Democracy Group Links Lobbyists, McCain

Nonprofit's workings clash with maverick image
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2008 3:09 PM CDT
President Bush, left, is presented with the International Republican Institute's (IRI) Freedom Award by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, center, at the IRI Freedom Dinner.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The workings of a nonprofit democracy-promotion group John McCain has chaired for 15 years are “in many ways at odds with the political outsider image that has become a touchstone of the McCain campaign,” the New York Times reports. The International Republican Institute is a “something of a revolving door for lobbyists and out-of-power Republicans that offers big donors a way of helping both the party and the institute’s chairman."

Hundreds of contractors, lobbyists, oil companies, and others have donated to the group during McCain's tenure. A campaigh spokesman says McCain "has never requested nor offered to take a position on legislation in exchange for, or because of, contributions to" the International Republican Institute, which has a $78 million annual budget.