That's what my organization, Public Campaign Action Fund, would like to know. Here's part of a press release we sent out today:
“Senator McCain claims to have learned a lesson during the Keating Five scandal in the late 1980s – that it is important to significantly reduce the impact of money in politics,” said David Donnelly, national campaigns director for the group. “But McCain, whose campaign is run by a who’s who of big money lobbyists, appears to have forgotten that lesson and has so far refused to make a commitment to fight for real change in how campaigns are financed.”
Sen. McCain himself points to the ensuing Keating Five ethics investigation as an episode that spurred his involvement in reform issues. "I faced in Vietnam, at times, very real threats to life and limb,” he told Associated Press. “But while my sense of honor was tested in prison, it was not questioned. During the Keating inquiry, it was, and I regretted that very much.”
On Monday, Public Campaign Action Fund emailed its online activists to ask them to cosign a letter to Sen. McCain. The letter, which can be seen on the group’s website, urges McCain to make passage of public financing a priority if elected.
Yesterday, McCain’s campaign announced yet another top corporate lobbyist who was appointed to a prominent campaign role: Doug Davenport, from DCI Group, a firm that lobbies for AT&T, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm and Verizon. Employees, their spouses, and Political Action Committees of DCI Group’s clients have given Sen. McCain’s campaign and leadership PAC $543,760 in campaign donations, according to a Public Campaign Action Fund analysis of campaign finance data provided by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org).
“If John McCain is serious about his so-called Bio Tour, instead of going to a big donor fundraiser in Jacksonville tomorrow, he ought to go visit Room 328 and make a bold public statement that the 2008 elections will be the last that is so dominated by special interest money in politics,” commented Donnelly. “Only by making passage of comprehensive public financing for all federal elections a priority if elected, can McCain meet this reform litmus test.
It's time to call on McCain support real reform and make passage a priority. Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have made that pledge. But not the so-called "reformer."