Presidential nominee John McCain will speak to the nation tonight from the Republican National Convention, and he is expected to make the case that he is a reformer and a man of honor.
With that in mind, it might be a good time to review an e-mail that John McCain would prefer the public not know about. The e-mail is particularly meaningful for those of us who live in Karl Rove's Alabama because it illustrates how our political and justice systems have been corrupted under the George W. Bush administration.
Beyond that, the e-mail should be a significant factor over the next two months as we count down to the November election. The words, exchanged by disgraced Republican lobbyists Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, prove that Alabama Governor Bob Riley had direct connections to the Abramoff influence-peddling machine.
And as Sam Stein, of Huffington Post reported back in February, McCain knew about Riley's connections to Abramoff. But in his role as chairman of the U.S. Senate's Indian Affairs Committee, McCain kept this e-mail out of his report. That helped free Riley from the taint of scandal and allowed him to beat Democrat Don Siegelman in the razor-close 2002 gubernatorial election.
In short, John McCain engaged in a coverup to protect one of his supporters in a Deep South state.
How damning is the e-mail evidence that McCain kept hidden? Well, let's ponder the following e-mail from Abramoff to Scanlon on December 9, 2002. And we will keep this in mind: Scanlon served as Bob Riley's press secretary when Riley was in the U.S. Congress and has since pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe a member of Congress. To make matters even more timely, Abramoff is being sentenced today by a federal judge.
So this is quite the sleazy pair, and they are closely aligned with Alabama's governor. What does Abramoff have to say to Scanlon, in this e-mail whose subject is a woman named Nell:
I told her we need to find the resources to get you going in a huge way. I reminded her that if you had not done what you did in Alabama, she would have to spend millions over the next four years (damn!!) and that if we don't get Mississippi squared away, as in beating Haley, we can expect to spend triple that. Call me for the rest of the discussion, but she definitely wants Riley to shut down the Poarch Creek operation, including his announcing that anyone caught gambling there can't qualify for a state contract or something like that. Anyway, are you in town this week? Call me.
So there you have it: Bob Riley had close ties to Jack Abramoff and intended to abuse his power over state contracts. But John McCain kept it hush hush, and later hired Riley's former campaign manager, Dax Swatek, as a presidential campaign advisor.
John McCain has helped promote corrupt government in Alabama, but he will tell Americans tonight that he is a "reformer" and a "maverick."
What a bunch of baloney.