Tag Archives: corruption

Noun, Verb, “Keating Five!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keating Economics

John McCain And The Making Of A Financial Crisis.

The current economic crisis demands that we understand John McCain’s attitudes about economic oversight and corporate influence in federal regulation. Nothing illustrates the danger of his approach more clearly than his central role in the savings and loan scandal of the late ’80s and early ’90s.

John McCain was accused of improperly aiding his political patron, Charles Keating, chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association. The bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee launched investigations and formally reprimanded Senator McCain for his role in the scandal — the first such Senator to receive a major party nomination for president.

At the heart of the scandal was Keating’s Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which took advantage of deregulation in the 1980s to make risky investments with its depositors’ money. McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating with federal regulators tasked with preventing banking fraud, and championed legislation to delay regulation of the savings and loan industry — actions that allowed Keating to continue his fraud at an incredible cost to taxpayers.

When the savings and loan industry collapsed, Keating’s failed company put taxpayers on the hook for $3.4 billion and more than 20,000 Americans lost their savings. John McCain was reprimanded by the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee, but the ultimate cost of the crisis to American taxpayers reached more than $120 billion.

The Keating scandal is eerily similar to today’s credit crisis, where a lack of regulation and cozy relationships between the financial industry and Congress has allowed banks to make risky loans and profit by bending the rules. And in both cases, John McCain’s judgment and values have placed him on the wrong side of history.

http://keatingeconomics.com/

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Alaska Supreme Court takes up ‘Troopergate’ case!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Supreme Court will decide whether to block the findings of an abuse-of-power investigation due to be released next week that could be potentially damaging to Gov. Sarah Palin’s vice presidential candidacy.

The court accepted an emergency appeal late Friday filed by six Alaska lawmakers who claim the investigation is being manipulated to hurt Palin before Election Day on Nov. 4. The court scheduled oral arguments for Wednesday on whether to suppress the probe’s findings.

The independent investigator conducting the probe plans to turn over his conclusions by next Friday to the Legislative Council, the body that authorized it. The six Republican lawmakers, who are not on the Legislative Council, filed the emergency appeal after their lawsuit was dismissed by an Anchorage judge on Thursday.

The probe is looking into whether Palin, who is Republican Sen. John McCain’s running mate, and others pressured Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire a state trooper who was involved in a contentious divorce from Palin’s sister and then fired Monegan when he wouldn’t dismiss the trooper. Palin says Monegan was ousted over budget disagreements.

In dismissing the lawsuit, Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski said the Legislature has the ability to investigate the circumstances surrounding the firing of a public officer the lawmakers had confirmed.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Kelly Shackelford said Friday that Michalski wants the court to rule that the legislative investigation is unconstitutional. He said that alleged bias by the probe’s overseers violates a provision of the state constitution that says legislative and executive investigations cannot infringe on a person’s right to “fair and just treatment.”

Defense attorney Peter Maassen said the Legislature is free to conduct an investigation as it sees fit and the judge’s ruling confirmed the separation of power principles. By the time the Supreme Court makes a ruling, the investigation will have already been completed — all that will remain will be to make its findings public.

“There’s been no time in history that a court has suppressed the outcome of a legislative investigation,” Maassen said.

Michalski also threw out a lawsuit filed by Palin aides seeking to dismiss subpoenas compelling their testimony in the investigation. The aides had argued that the subpoenas should not be honored because they shouldn’t have been issued.

It was not clear if those aides would join the appeal. Governor’s spokesman Bill McAllister said Attorney General Talis Colberg has not yet spoken with the aides since the ruling was made.

Palin pledged her cooperation with the probe until she became the vice presidential candidate. She has said through her lawyer that she only will cooperate with a separate investigation, one that she calls unbiased but is conducted in secret and can last for years.

Maassen represents Senate Judiciary Chairman Hollis French, the Democratic project manager of the investigation; Sen. Kim Elton, Democratic chairman of the Legislative Council; the investigator, retired prosecutor Steven Branchflower; and the Legislative Council.

French said Sept. 2 that the results of the investigation could constitute an “October surprise” for the McCain campaign. He later apologized for the remark, but Palin’s lawyer has said the biased impression it created can’t be undone.

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The Sarah Palin Chronicles! 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palin giving back tainted money from gov. campaign  – Associated Press

By STEVE QUINN and JUSTIN PRITCHARD, Associated Press Writers 1 hour, 7 minutes ago

JUNEAU, Alaska – Gov. Sarah Palin, touted by Republican presidential nominee John McCain as a reformer when he picked her to be his running mate, says she will donate to charity more than $1,000 in campaign contributions from two Alaska politicians implicated in a federal corruption probe.

Palin said Thursday she also is giving back $1,000 from the wife of one of the men. The move came a few hours after The Associated Press reported that Palin had accepted the money during her successful 2006 run for governor. Palin was elected easily after she promised to rid Alaska’s capital of dirty politics.

Gov. Palin has made a career of holding herself to the highest standards of ethics. As soon as the governor learned of the donations today, she immediately decided to donate them to charity,” campaign spokesman Taylor Griffin said.

Palin took aim at gift-giving to state officials as part of her ethics agenda but has kept more than $25,000 in gifts in the 20 months she has been governor, The Washington Post reported in a story in its Friday editions. A review of state records shows that gifts came from industry executives, municipalities and a cultural center whose board includes officials from some of the largest mining interests in Alaska, according to the newspaper.

The Post reported that the 41 gifts Palin accepted included artwork, free travel, a gold-nugget pin valued at $1,200, a $2,200 ivory puffin mask, a woven grass fan worth $300 and a $150 ivory necklace. A spokeswoman for McCain’s campaign said the gifts had no undue influence on Palin, according to the newspaper.

Over the years, McCain and Democratic nominee Barack Obama have both returned campaign donations tied to corruption.

Obama’s campaign says he’s given to charity $159,000 tied to convicted Chicago real estate developer Antoin “Tony” Rezko. In the early 1990s, McCain returned $112,000 from Charles Keating, a central figure in the savings-and-loan crisis, after a Senate ethics inquiry.

The two politicians in this case were snagged in a federal investigation revolving around an oil field services company once known as VECO Corp. Executives from the company are at the center of the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, that began this week in Washington.

Palin felt so strongly about the indictment of once-powerful Sen. John Cowdery that she urged him to resign. He was indicted in July on two federal bribery counts; the other donor, former Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, is awaiting trial. Both are Republicans, and their contributions were to the joint campaign of Palin and Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell. Neither had any obvious connection to the rising star before she took office.

In the Stevens case, prosecutors say he lied on his financial disclosure forms about more than $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts he received from VECO. In Alaska, the government has leveled more serious charges: That the company and its bosses tried to corrupt lawmakers by plying them with money or gifts in exchange for their votes.

On Aug. 31, 2006, FBI agents searched the offices of six state lawmakers, including Cowdery and Weyhrauch.

The government had secretly taped Cowdery in a conversation that prosecutors say proved he conspired with VECO officials to bribe legislators to support changes in Alaska’s oil tax structure. Weyhrauch allegedly promised to support VECO’s position in exchange for consideration for future work as a lawyer.

VECO quickly came to symbolize outsized corruption in Alaska and Palin was able to capitalize: As the GOP nominee for governor, she campaigned as an outsider and made a public point of saying she didn’t want money from the company or its employees.

By October 2006, Palin’s campaign had received $30 from Weyhrauch in addition to Cowdery’s $1,000. Separately, Cowdery’s wife, Juanita, contributed $1,000; she is not accused of any wrongdoing, but Palin is giving that money back, too.

The fact that Palin had kept Cowdery’s donation was notable, given that on July 10, the day after he was indicted, the governor issued a statement asking him to “step down, for the good of the state.”

___

Justin Pritchard reported from Anchorage, Alaska. Associated Press writer Sharon Theimer in Washington contributed to this report.

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The Sarah Palin Chronicles! 2

 

 No wonder they don’t want her talking to the press!

 

 

 

 

 

Alaska Rep. Accuses McCain-Palin Campaign of Witness Tampering

By Jason Leopold
The Public Record
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Favoured : 4

Published in : Politics

An Alaska Democratic state lawmaker has written a letter to a state trooper official calling for an investigation into possible witness tampering related to the state’s ethics probe of Gov. Sarah Palin by people working for or close to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign.

In a letter Wednesday to Alaska state trooper director Audie Holloway, Democratic Rep. Les Gara accused the campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain of intimidating witnesses and/or pressuring people close to Palin, McCain’s vice presidential running mate, not to comply with subpoenas seeking testimony about whether Palin improperly fired her public safety commissioner.

“Starting after August 29, certain staff for the McCain campaign came to Alaska in an effort to block this investigation,” Gara wrote in his letter to Holloway. Gara also issued a press release titled “Legislator Asks Troopers to Look at Possible Witness Tampering.”

“There are rumors that upwards of 30 staffers have come to the state since that date,” Gara added in his letter to Holloway. “I do not know the roles of the various staff members. Campaign representatives Ed O’Callaghan and Meghan Stapleton have held numerous press conferences in Anchorage to block the investigation. Since then three witnesses have failed to comply with legislative subpoenas, and up to seven more may do the same this coming Friday.”

“Something has caused, or in the words of the statute, may have “induced” these witnesses to change their position,” Gara wrote. “I do not know whether it is advice from staff for the McCain campaign, state counsel, private counsel, or from others, or whether these individuals have done this independently of advice or suggestions from third persons. But it seems a witness would not risk possible jail time that comes with the violations of a subpoena without advice of others.”

Last week, a Judiciary Committee hearing was scheduled for witnesses, including Palin’s husband, Todd Palin, who were subpoenaed. But none of the six witnesses who received a summons showed up.

Palin, who initially welcomed the investigation into her dismissal of commissioner Walt Monegan in July, now appears determined to block completion of the inquiry before the Nov. 4 election when she hopes to become the next Vice President of the United States.

Palin’s “Troopergate” scandal centers on whether the governor, her husband and several of her senior aides pressured commissioner Monegan to fire Mike Wooten, a state trooper who was in an ugly divorce and child custody dispute with Gov. Palin’s sister.

In Alaska, the battle lines around the scandal have grown sharper in the past two weeks as the McCain campaign dispatched national Republican operatives to advise Palin and her inner circle how to contest and discredit the legislative inquiry.

Rescinding her earlier promise to cooperate, Palin then began challenging the legitimacy of the investigation and demeaning the professionalism of independent counsel Steven Branchflower, a longtime prosecutor hired to conduct the probe.

Palin’s lawyer, Thomas Van Flein, toughened the rhetoric over the past two weeks, claiming the investigation was “being pursued for partisan purposes” and arguing that the Judiciary Committee has no authority to investigate the governor’s office.

Additionally, Van Flein said the subpoena issued for Todd Palin is “unduly burdensome” due to “preexisting travel plans” because his wife is the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee.

Ed O’Callaghan, a former federal prosecutor who is now employed by the McCain-Palin campaign, denied allegations that witnesses were told not to testify or cooperate.

“Nobody ever told anyone not to testify,” said O’Callaghan, a former New York federal prosecutor now working locally for the McCain-Palin campaign. “Individuals who were subpoenaed conferred with their individual attorneys, presumably, and made a determination to how to respond to those subpoenas.”

Palin’s handling of the case also raises more questions about her credibility as a “reformer” who says no one is above the law. She now seems to be counting on her new-found celebrity and the hardball tactics of national Republican operatives to shield her from legislative oversight.

Further, Palin’s resistance to the investigation may remind some voters of the disdain that President George W. Bush has shown toward congressional oversight, including a similar pattern of ignoring subpoenas issued to Bush’s top aides who were involved in the 2006 firing of nine federal prosecutors deemed not “loyal Bushies.”

With the McCain campaign battling Democratic accusations that a McCain presidency would mean “more of the same,” the image of Palin and her husband refusing to answer questions about an alleged abuse of power might recall the troubling image of Bush stonewalling congressional oversight.

Meanwhile, an Anchorage-based attorney plans to file a motion this week asking a judge to dismiss two lawsuits aimed at derailing the Palin probe.
Five Republican lawmakers filed a lawsuit last week to block the Legislative Council’s investigation of Palin claiming Democrats had politicized the probe and that it should be placed on hold until after November’s presidential election. Additionally, Fairbanks attorneys and business owners also filed a lawsuit hoping to stop the investigation.

The investigation into Palin’s alleged abuse of power was unanimously approved in July—weeks before Palin was selected as McCain’s running mate—by the state’s Legislative Council, which is made up of a majority of Republicans.

Alaska state officials are vowing to finish a report on the controversy by Oct. 10 and to weigh contempt proceedings against Palin’s husband and officials who work for Palin for refusing to comply with subpoenas early next year.

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It’s All Relative!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albert Einstein had it right when he came up with formula E = mc2    

          

Here’s why the second formula is just as valid!

McCain:  “Greed, excess, and corruption!”

  

The American people are not  fucking stupid enough too fall for this again!  Or are we?

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Did I Hear McCain Mention Change?

 

Throwing the GOP under the bus!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John McCain, Internet dunce from Salon.com

Why the Arizona senator, who can barely Google, is not the chief that an increasingly technological world requires.

By Amanda Terkel

Aug. 13, 2008 | John McCain spends a lot of time talking about Iraq. He also likes talking about terrorism. But one issue he rarely touches upon is technology. In fact, under the “Issues” section of his campaign Web site, technology isn’t even an option. He has people like former Hewlett-Packard chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina and former eBay president and CEO Meg Whitman advising him. But the campaign usually deploys them to talk about economic issues like tax cuts and gas prices.
Most of the tech talk surrounding McCain has so far focused on his self-admitted computer ignorance. “I’m an illiterate who has to rely on my wife for all of the assistance that I can get,” McCain said in an interview with Yahoo/Politico earlier this year. Last month, McCain admitted that he has “never felt the particular need to e-mail.”

Tech has put the McCain campaign on the defensive about whether a president needs to be actively engaged in the Internet to lead an increasingly wired country. At the tech-savvy Personal Democracy Forum conference in June, Mark Soohoo, McCain’s deputy e-campaign director, drew snickers when he desperately insisted, “You don’t necessarily have to use a computer to understand how it shapes the country … John McCain is aware of the Internet.”

It has also brought up the unsavory topic of McCain’s age, with people wondering if his lack of technology skills is simply part of the “generational gap” between him and younger voters. But even in his own demographic — white, college-educated men over 65 — McCain is an outlier. According to new data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, approximately three-quarters of this group use the Internet. “Basically, John is a technological troglodyte, and proud of it,” said former Federal Communications Commission chairman and Obama supporter Reed Hundt.

One area being overlooked, however, is the need for progress on America’s technological infrastructure.

The United States currently sticks out globally for having no national broadband policy — a plan to give every American access to affordable high-speed Internet connections. Roughly half of the country’s households still lack broadband connections, and the United States continues to fall behind. “Broadband will soon be an indispensable communication technology affecting the way we learn, the way we work, and the way we communicate,” Charles Benton, chairman and CEO of the Benton Foundation, wrote in June. “However, at the dawn of this Digital Age, those who could benefit the most from this economically empowering technology are also those most likely to be left without access because of where they live or how much money they make.”

Science and technology certainly haven’t been priorities under the Bush administration. A 2005 report by the National Academy of Sciences concluded, “The scientific and technical building blocks of our economic leadership are eroding at a time when many other nations are gathering strength.” McCain has given little indication that he intends to be much different, and that has some tech experts worried.

“What concerns me is that [McCain] will do as George Bush did, which is to make technology an issue related to how he raises money to run the government or to fund campaigns, and not as an independent issue that is important to grow America,” said Stanford University professor and Internet expert Lawrence Lessig. “Technology for the Bush administration is a total non-issue, even though that was the thing that drove most growth in 1992 to 2003. And the reason I think he’d be led to that is because [he’s] a guy who doesn’t understand anything about technology in the first place.”

McCain has not released a tech platform, although he may do so this week. On this front, he lags behind Barack Obama, who unveiled his last year. Mark Lloyd, vice president of strategic initiatives at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, pointed to the fact that some of McCain’s top advisors also advised Bush. “I think that the people who determine his tech policies, like [former FCC chairman] Michael Powell and a few others who were his top advisors, will talk, as Bush has talked about, getting advanced telecommunications services to all Americans,” said Lloyd. “But mainly their model is to allow the industry to determine what all this means, which is the danger.”

These worries aren’t unfounded. McCain has a long record of blocking progress on tech issues. He has served as a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation since coming to the Senate in 1987, and as chairman from 1997 to 2001, and again from 2003 to 2005. He oversaw the committee at a crucial point in history: the explosion of the Internet economy.

During McCain’s tenure, the committee oversaw the implementation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the first major overhaul of U.S. telecom law in nearly 62 years. McCain had to choose whether to be pro-competition or pro-big business. In most instances, he chose the latter route, by opposing increased Internet access for schools and libraries, backing large mergers to benefit the telecom industry and supporting a virtual system of haves and have-nots.

Lloyd said the Senate Commerce Committee during this time devoted “far too little oversight to the good things in the 1996 Telecommunications Act.” Those included “making sure there were equal opportunities to participate in the industry afforded to women and minorities and small businesses.” He added, “There was a rush to essentially allow industry players to get into each other’s businesses and consolidate in the industry.”

McCain’s long history in the Senate has one main theme: Government can do no good in telecom policy. “McCain is a pure free-market ideologue,” said Mark Cooper, director of research at the Consumer Federation of America. “Their [Bush and McCain] belief is that government should just get out of the way and let the private sector do it. Clearly, in the financial markets, the private sector has done a horrible job.”

Other media experts have characterized McCain’s Commerce Committee tenure as a lost opportunity to make progress on telecommunications policy. “The thing that stands out for his entire tenure is that he has never had a priority, and has never had, to my knowledge, any accomplishment of any kind at all,” said Hundt.

McCain has said that closing the digital divide — the gap between people with access to digital technology and those without — is one of his top tech priorities. Speaking to the Consumer Federation of America in 2001, he said it was “our greatest challenge in the 21st century.” It may therefore be surprising to learn that McCain was one of the most vocal opponents of Education Rate (E-Rate), a program designed to provide discounts to schools and libraries to connect to the Internet.

E-rate, established as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, may have gotten off to a shaky start, but many tech experts agree that it has been a success. According to the Benton Foundation, nearly $19 billion in discounts have been provided to schools and libraries, and more than 90 percent of classrooms in rural, high-minority and low-income school districts now have Internet connections.

McCain opposed E-Rate in the late ’90s, concerned about the impact it might have on the telecom industry. He mostly cited concerns about government waste and “inflated” costs. Groups such as the American Library Association were so outraged that they encouraged their members to contact obstinate senators, including McCain.

Over the next few years, McCain shifted his views on the program. He instead focused on making schools and libraries set up a filtering system to keep children away from undesirable sites — a requirement opposed by libraries, school boards, civil libertarians, technology interests and even some conservatives.

“The prevention lies not in censoring what goes into the Internet,” said McCain of his Internet School Filtering Act in 1998, “but rather in filtering what comes out of it onto the computers our children use outside the home.” McCain’s position was so strict that even former Sen. Rick Santorum, a hard-line conservative, proposed a more moderate compromise bill.

In a 2000 Republican presidential debate, McCain had the gall to take credit for wiring schools, despite his opposition to E-Rate: “We took a major step forward when we decided to wire every school and library in America to the Internet. That’s a good program.”

Not only did McCain oppose E-Rate, but he fought tooth and nail against the entire Telecommunications Act of 1996. The bill wasn’t perfect, and has had a mixed record. As Lloyd noted, “Part of the concern was that there had been, frankly, too little debate about the act before the public, and that the broadcasters were getting extraordinary benefits without sufficient return to the public for what they were doing.”

McCain was one of just five senators to vote against the bill, arguing that it was too regulatory. In fact, a common theme of McCain’s views on tech policy is the belief that law can rarely be used to benefit telecommunications. Government intervention, for the most part, is bad. “Unless there is a clear-cut, unequivocal restraint of competition, the government should stay out of it,” McCain said in 2007. “These things will sort themselves out.”

At a 1999 Senate Commerce Committee hearing, McCain criticized the Telecommunications Act, arguing that it encouraged large mergers. “By redrawing the ownership and competition rules that govern the industry, it has created incentives, both intended and unintended, for companies to merge.” But McCain did little to stop them.

“McCain was encouraging the notion of competition, but really did very little to limit consolidation,” said Lloyd. Hundt added that McCain has “never successfully opposed any merger.” At a Federalist Society debate in June, Hundt also challenged Powell, a McCain supporter, to name one merger the senator has opposed since 1986. Frustrated, Powell replied, “Well, I’m not going to attempt to do that. I think it’s a cheeky argument.”

In 2003, McCain also voted against a bill that would have tightened media ownership rules — and, in theory, fostered more diverse voices — and introduced a bill limiting the FCC’s ability to regulate telecommunications takeovers. As Bloomberg’s Christopher Stern wrote recently, “McCain sees the Internet mainly as a business and trusts market forces to foster innovation for society’s benefit.”

(After trying to talk to several McCain campaign advisors, Salon was told to contact his Senate office for a response. McCain’s Senate office did not respond to repeated inquiries.)

More recently, McCain has sided with the telecom industry in the network neutrality debate. In 2006, consumer advocates supported legislation by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., that would have prevented broadband providers from creating a pay-for-play system. Telephone networks already operate on neutrality principles. Calls go through equally as well whether someone is calling her grandmother or Steve Jobs. But without net neutrality, say its advocates, the Internet would operate on a different model. Sites willing to pay large sums of money would be faster to access, generating more revenue for telecoms.

The CEOs of some of the world’s most innovative technology companies — including Google and Yahoo! — wrote the House Energy Committee in 2006, worried that the “longstanding openness of the Internet” was being threatened. (Ironically, Whitman, who was then heading eBay, also signed the letter.) They urged the committee to adopt net neutrality rules that were “both meaningful and readily enforceable.” Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, a popular technology blog that endorsed both McCain and Obama in the primaries, called net neutrality “probably the most important issue in Silicon Valley.”

McCain sided against competition and opposed Markey’s legislation. In 2007, he argued, “When you control the pipe you should be able to get profit from your investment.”

McCain has boasted that he has “never done any favors for anybody — lobbyist or special interest group — that’s a clear, 24-year record.”

But the record isn’t so clear. McCain’s chairmanship of the Senate Commerce Committee has been good for large corporations, and they have rewarded him handsomely. In 2000, Washington Internet Daily, a trade site, reported that McCain was the “[c]lear leader in fund-raising from high-tech companies.” Over those past two years, McCain collected $1.2 million from communications and electronics companies, including nearly $700,000 from phone companies and telecom infrastructure firms.

In 1998 and 1999, McCain wrote at least 15 letters to the FCC, urging members to take action on issues that had potentially major consequences for his campaign donors. For example, McCain wrote two letters in April and May 1999, asking the commission to make a decision on a $62 billion pending merger between telephone companies Ameritech and SBC Communications. The merger went through later that year. A few weeks before the April letter, Richard Notebaert, then head of Ameritech, co-hosted a fundraiser for McCain. He took in approximately $50,000. Just before the May letter, SBC and Ameritech officials contributed or solicited about $120,000 in donations for McCain’s campaign.

At the time of the merger, SBC was a client of Davis, Manafort and Freedman, a firm run by McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis. (Davis is now serving as McCain’s 2008 campaign manager.)

The current campaign cycle is also shaping up to be lucrative. U.S. Telecom Association president and CEO Walter B. McCormick Jr., Sprint CEO Daniel R. Hesse, and Verizon chairman and CEO Ivan G. Seidenberg have each raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for McCain’s campaign. AT&T executive vice president for federal relations Timothy McKone has raised at least $500,000.

McCain has steadfastly resisted using the federal government’s power to ensure America’s technological advancement. But that approach will not work as other countries begin to outpace the United States.

When McCain took over his second tenure of the Senate Commerce Committee, the United States ranked fourth in broadband penetration, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. In 2007, two years after he had given up that position, the United States had dropped to 15th in the world. The rest of the developed world, which chose to be pro-competition, is now racing ahead of the United States.

Americans don’t expect the next president to be Twitterer-in-chief, but he will need to lead an increasingly technologically savvy nation and ensure that the benefits of advanced telecommunications reach as many people as possible. “Government doesn’t need to manage the technological developments,” Hundt said at the June Federalist Society debate. “But it ought to establish a rule of law where entrepreneurs can raise money and enter these markets.”

Closing the digital divide and developing an equitable broadband strategy will be a significant challenge. Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America said McCain won’t be up to the task. “Nobody believes if McCain gets into office he’s going to fix federal communications policy,” he said. “He doesn’t have any credibility when it comes to [initiating] a government act. Obviously, he’s trading on the capital he built up when he was the straight-talk express. But that capital is dissipating very quickly.”

 

 

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