Interesting history of John McCain and his convicted father-in-law, first printed in 2000.
This story examines the roots of the Hensley fortune and John McCain’s implacable bond to the liquor industry — how it has enriched him personally and as a politician, and how those ties have dictated his actions on questions of public policy.
John McCain’s political allegiances to liquor purveyors and his father-in-law’s interests are subtle. That narrative is marked by a pattern of patronage.
The Hensley saga, meanwhile, swirls with bygone accounts of illicit booze, gambling, horse racing, deceit and crime. James Hensley embarked on his road to riches as a bootlegger
McCain has been corrupted by corporate lobbyist money for quite some time:
An analysis of contributions to John McCain’s ’98 Senate campaign and current presidential campaign, through last December1, reveals he’s taken at least $103,363 from alcohol-related political action committees and employees of the alcohol industry.
(By contrast, he’s taken more than $1 million from the telecommunications industry, $98,000 from maritime interests and $59,000 from trucking interests — other industries with business before his committee. Trucking issues are important to Hensley & Company, which operates a fleet of 300 delivery trucks.)
McCain’s recent alcohol money comes from a variety of sources — hard liquor, wine and beer interests — but from the beginning of his political career, James Hensley and his associates have been very good to John McCain.
Since 1982, McCain has received the following contributions:
• Hensley & Company employees: at least $61,063
• National Beer Wholesalers PAC: $21,000
• Anheuser-Busch employees and PAC: $33,100
George Hacker, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, was surprised to hear that McCain accepts beer money.
That raises a question: Why would alcohol interests donate money to McCain if he recuses himself completely from their issue?
Hensley and the National Beer Wholesalers Association did not answer requests for comment. But Anheuser-Busch released this statement, from Stephen Lambright, general counsel:
“Anheuser-Busch has a long tradition of active and responsible corporate citizenship. Like many corporations, we participate in the political process in many ways, including through making contributions. In doing so, we support candidates from both sides of the aisle who best represent the views of our community, our employees, our consumers and our shareholders.”
Hacker has another answer: “My guess is they give money because… he can help by being absent, he can help by passing the buck, he can help by not passing the buck.”
- or slightly over two years worth of data [↩]