McCain’s Female Lobbyist

Last Dec. 20, I was speculating via email that John McCain’s lobbyist scandal about to break in the New York Times was a sexual one.

Here she is, Miss Vicki Iseman:


From Matt Drudge:


Here are some key links:

From the Huffington Post:

Who is Iseman? A quick search on the Internet turns up some background information, including a picture of her with President Bush.

A website of her alma matter, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated with a degree in elementary education in 1990, documents her fast rise in the world of lobbying.

Iseman, the site notes, secured a job at the firm Alcalde and Fay only a few months after graduation, mostly for secretarial work. Soon thereafter, however, she began moving up the employment ranks. And eight years after she started, she became the youngest partner at Alcalde. Her clients included PAXtv, Religious Voices in Broadcasting, Telemundo, the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, and Computer Sciences Corporation.

From her page on the firm’s website — which was pulled from the web shortly after the New York Times story broke — there is this: "[Iseman] has consulted for clients who are interested in government contracting opportunities. She has assisted corporations through the authorization and appropriation process. An active fundraiser, she has organized and participated in many political fundraising events."

Here is a list of all the clients Iseman lobbied on behalf of between 1998 and 2006. Many of them, as the Times noted, were "companies for whom Mr. McCain’s commerce committee was pivotal."

According to campaign finance record, Iseman has never given political donations to McCain. She has given $250 and $300 to Sen. Arlen Specter and former Rep. Ronald Klink, respectively. However, as the Times reported, Iseman’s clients "contributed tens of thousands of dollars to his campaigns."

The NYT reports:

WASHINGTON — Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, in his offices and aboard a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s clients, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.

Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.

It had been just a decade since an official favor for a friend with regulatory problems had nearly ended Mr. McCain’s political career by ensnaring him in the Keating Five scandal. In the years that followed, he reinvented himself as the scourge of special interests, a crusader for stricter ethics and campaign finance rules, a man of honor chastened by a brush with shame.

But the concerns about Mr. McCain’s relationship with Ms. Iseman underscored an enduring paradox of his post-Keating career. Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest.

Mr. McCain promised, for example, never to fly directly from Washington to Phoenix, his hometown, to avoid the impression of self-interest because he sponsored a law that opened the route nearly a decade ago. But like other lawmakers, he often flew on the corporate jets of business executives seeking his support, including the media moguls Rupert Murdoch, Michael R. Bloomberg and Lowell W. Paxson, Ms. Iseman’s client. (Last year he voted to end the practice.)

Here’s Wonkette’s summary:

Did he have a Dirty Sex Affair with some lobbyist broad who looks suspiciously like his current wife? Let’s find out!


Under a grainy black-and-white 1970s-looking mafia photograph of McCain as he “conferred with his lawyers before testifying in January 1991 before the Senate Ethics Committee regarding his involvement with Charles Keating and the Lincoln Savings and Loan,” the NYT samples from the rich trove of Corrupt McCain evidence and comes up with this pretty good initial batch of sleaze:

  • While Grandpa Straight Talk was running for the presidency in 2000, all his aides were going nuts because he was constantly traveling with a good-looking lobbyist gal who was, at the time, in her early thirties.
  • Whether or not McCain and Vicki Iseman were having sexytime on the corporate jets he used to fly around the country, McCain did do the bidding of Iseman’s clients.
  • At this point, he had barely cleared his name from the Keating Five Savings & Loan scandal.
  • In one of his few acknowledgments that the Arizona senator has ever been to Arizona, McCain made a point of not flying direct from National Airport to Phoenix because he had some part in opening up that commercial air route — but because he always flies in luxury private jets provided by the Corporates, it didn’t much inconvenience him.
  • McCain helped launch some campaign-ethics group, but the group ended up doing the exact same corrupt things it was supposedly against, so he quit in shame.
  • Corrupt banker/developer Charles Keating was, obviously, an immediate supporter of McCain’s long congressional career. Keating showered dirty money and fancy vacations on McCain, who loves all that shit.
  • Then McCain tried to get the government off the back of Keating’s failing corrupt Lincoln Savings and Loan, because McCain really wants to get government off the backs of his corrupt millionaire friends.
  • McCain got caught, but somehow clung to his senate seat.
  • But McCain can still pretend to “wince” at the memory of getting caught, so who cares if the bailout cost American taxpayers $3.4 billion?
  • He also got caught having a big lobbyist fund-raising deluxe luxury fancy party in 2000. So he ran and hid like a little girl.
  • Lobbyists control his entire miserable, corrupt life.
  • He loves lobbyists, both in the figurative and literal sense, because he was probably screwing that one lobbyist.
  • And when the lobbyists need a quick letter to the FCC or whatever to help their clients, John Maverick McCain is always quick to help, the end.

Tim Reid writes for the Times of London:

John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was last night romantically linked to a 40-year-old female political lobbyist and accused of granting her clients political favours.

Mr McCain, 71, fiercely denied a report in the New York Times which stated that eight years ago, during his first run for the White House, his aides were so concerned about his relationship with Vicki Iseman that they blocked her access to him to "protect the candidate from himself".

Mr McCain and Ms Iseman both denied to the newspaper – which has been sitting on the story for several weeks – that they had ever had a romantic relationship. The story was first alluded to on the Drudge Report website just before the Iowa and New Hampshire nomination contests, but after frantic lobbying by Mr McCain and his aides at the time the New York Times did not publish it then.

It was unclear last night what impact the allegations would have on Mr McCain, who is now on the verge of wrapping up the Republican nomination after staging an extraordinary political comeback. He had been written off in the presidential race six months ago when his campaign collapsed.

Here’s her profile:

Vicki Iseman, Partner, represents corporate and public clients on issues as diverse as government contracting and regulatory reform. Her experience includes representation of clients before Congress, Federal government agencies and local opinion leaders.

She has extensive experience in telecommunications, representing corporations before the House and Senate Commerce Committees. Her work on the landmark 1992 and 1996 communications bills helped secure cable access for broadcast television stations. Her experience in the communications field includes digital television conversion, satellite regulations and telecommunications ownership provisions.

She has been active in grassroots communications campaigns for clients, building community based support for legislative initiatives. Among others, she participated in the "Keep America Moving" campaign that educated community leaders on the allocation of Federal highway trust funds.

In addition, she has consulted for clients who are interested in government contracting opportunities. She has assisted corporations through the authorization and appropriation process. An active fundraiser, she has organized and participated in many political fundraising events.

A native of Pennsylvania, she holds a B.A. degree in Education from Indiana University in Pennsylvania.

By Bruce Dries:

From her office windows, Vicki Iseman ’90 has a great view of Washington, D.C. The Indiana native is one of the youngest people in the lobbying firm of Alcalde and Fay and one of its most senior partners.

Two weeks after graduating from IUP with a degree in elementary education, Iseman joined a friend in Washington and was hired as a receptionist. With only a few months’ experience on the job, she said she “walked into my boss’s office [the president of the company] and said, ‘You don’t really know me, but I answer the phones. I’m a college graduate and I’d like you to consider me for a secretarial or an administrative position.’” He agreed to try her out for three months. Within a year she became his special assistant.

Photo: Lobbyist Vicki Iseman is well connected in Washington.Alcalde and Fay represents clients from cruise lines and universities to airports and broadcasters. With no background in politics or telecommunications, Iseman realized she needed to know as much as possible to survive her new job. She spent most of her waking hours learning the business, and it paid off handsomely. Eight years later she became the youngest partner ever in the firm, counting among her clients PAXtv, Religious Voices in Broadcasting, Telemundo, the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, and Computer Sciences Corporation. In addition, she has met Melanie Griffith, Britney Spears, Bo Derek, and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Iseman said that the most important aspect of her job is the effect that one person can have on legislation in small communities and educational institutions. “Where my heart lies is in education,” she said. “I believe it is the great equalizer.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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