- John McCain's personal fortune traces back to organized
crime in Arizona, through his father-in-law, according to a report published
by a multi-news agency team called Investigative Reporters and Editors
- IRE reporters Amy Silverman and John Doherty, writing
in the Phoenix New Times, note that the father of McCain's wife, James
Hensley, was convicted by a federal jury in U.S. District Court of
Arizona in March 1948 on seven counts of filing false liquor records. Hensley
also was charged with conspiracy to hide from federal authorities the names
of persons involved in a liquor industry racket with two companies he managed,
United Sales Company in Phoenix and United Distributors in Tucson.
- The umbrella company, United Liquor, at that time held
a monopoly in Arizona, organized and managed by Kemper Marley, who was
accused of mob ties by a reporter who was murdered in 1977.
- Silverman and Doherty report that by 1955, Hensley had
launched a Budweiser distributorship in Phoenix, "a franchise reportedly
bestowed upon him by Marley, who was never indicted in the 1948 liquor-law-violation
case or a subsequent one despite his controlling role in the
liquor distribution businesses."
- According to Marley's longtime public relations man,
Al Lizanetz, the Marley liquor empire was founded by the Bronfman family
dynasty of Canada which operated Allied Finance Company, Northern Export
Company and Distillers Corporation the Seagrams, Ltd. empire.
- As chronicled by the "Rumrunners and Prohibition"
video shown popularly on the History Channel, during the 1920s, the Bronfman
family made millions in bootlegging, accounting for half the illegal liquor
crossing the border, working in a profitable distribution deal with the
infamous mobster Meyer Lansky, who later moved on to establish the crime
syndicates in the casinos of Havana, Cuba, in the 1940s and 50s.
- Arizona in the 1970s drew a "who's who" of
organized crime figures seeking to retire in the sun, including Rochester,
N.Y., mob boss Joe Bonanno, who spent his last days along the Lake Havasu
shores and in a quiet home in Tucson.
- In 1977, after Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles was
killed when his car was blown up by the mob in a parking lot, a team of
36 journalists from 27 news organizations, known as IRE, published an 80,000
word 23-part series on organized crime in Arizona.
- Dan Nowicki and Bill Muller, reporting in the Arizona
Republic March 1, 2007, documented that in 1953, Hensley was again charged
with falsifying records at Marley's liquor firms.
- Hensley was found not guilty after being defended by
William Rehnquist, the future chief justice of the Supreme Court, Nowicki
and Muller wrote.
- In 2000, Hensley, then 80 years old, still controlled
the Budweiser distributorship valued as a $200 million-a-year business,
with annual sales of more than 20 million cases of beer.
- On Feb. 17, 2000, Pat Flannery reported in the Arizona
Republic that Hensley's beer-distribution empire was the fifth largest
in the nation, "a Budweiser franchise whose bigwigs hold the No. 2
spot on Sen. John McCain's all-time career list of corporate donors."
- Since 1982, according to the Center for Public Integrity,
Hensley & Co. officials have pumped $80,000 into the campaigns of McCain,
Flannery wrote. More than a quarter of that has been donated since 1997.
- Flannery further reported that in 2000, Cindy Hensley
McCain, the senator's wife, held a 37.18 percent financial interest
in her father's Budweiser distributorship, although she was not involved
in day-to-day operations.
- The McCain's four children held a combined 23.55 percent
interest, though their interests were at that time held in trust.
- Arizona crime connections again surfaced in the 1980s
when McCain was implicated as one of the five U.S. senators named in the
"Keating Five" scandal.
- Charles Keating Jr. and his associates paid McCain some
$112,000 in political campaign contributions between 1982
and 1987, while Keating was organizing a massive real estate fraud in the
then FDIC federally insured Lincoln Savings and Loan Association.
- In April 1986, McCain's wife and father-in-law also invested
$359,000 in a Keating shopping center, before the savings and loan scandal
- Keating was sent to prison under civil racketeering and
fraud charges for the $1.1 billion loss the investment scheme cost the
public, although McCain and the other U.S. senators involved managed to
avoid charges in the Senate, with McCain receiving only an Ethics
Committee rebuke for exercising "poor judgment."
- Even today, McCain's 2008 presidential campaign staff
includes several prominent lobbyists, despite the senator's claim
to be a campaign reform crusader whose goal is to take money out of politics.
- WND previously reported McCain's 2000 and 2008 campaign
manager Rick Davis took a six-figure salary as president of the Soros-funded
Reform Institute in the intervening years and managed his own lobby
firm of Davis, Manafort & Freeman in Alexandria, Va., operating at
the same building in a suite down the hall from the Reform Institute.
- In 2003 and 2004, Davis apparently solicited CSC Holdings,
a subsidiary of the Cablevision Systems Corporation, headed by Charles
F. Dolan, to make two separate $100,000 contributions to the Reform Institute.
- In between the two separate $100,000 contributions Cablevision
made to the Reform Institute, McCain, then chairman of the Senate Commerce
Committee, wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission supporting
Cablevision's desire to continue packaging customer TV programming in a
manner more profitable to Cablevision.
- In this period of time, McCain worked with Vicki Iseman,
a lobbyist representing telecommunications companies, including Cablevision.
- WND also reported Davis arranged a 2006 meeting
with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in Davos, Switzerland, a close
supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
- McCain repeatedly has voiced opposition to Putin, even
calling on President Bush to suspend Russia's membership
in the Group of Eight.
- In 2007, the U.S. State Department cancelled Deripaska's
visa over continuing concerns he remained connected with the Russian mafia.