“A Constituent Matter”

“A CONSTITUENT MATTER”….The New York Times tells the story today of Donald Diamond (“sometimes referred to as ‘The Donald,’ Arizona’s answer to Donald Trump”), a wealthy Arizona real estate developer who is one of John McCain’s top campaign fundraisers. A decade ago, Diamond wanted to buy some land at a California Army base that was being closed:

When Mr. Diamond wanted to buy land at the base, Fort Ord, Mr. McCain assigned an aide who set up a meeting at the Pentagon and later stepped in again to help speed up the sale, according to people involved and a deposition Mr. Diamond gave for a related lawsuit.

….The McCain aide’s assistance with the Army helped Mr. Diamond complete a purchase in 1999 that he soon turned over for a $20 million profit.

….For the California projects, the campaign said the McCain aide arranged the introduction to an Army official for Mr. Diamond’s team as “a constituent matter.” The campaign said it had no knowledge of the aide helping to expedite the sale.

Indeed. A “constituent matter.” McCain’s pal managed to snag this prime coastal land — complete with special water rights — for $250,000 and then sell it two years later for $30 million. That’s some serious constituent service. Diamond himself, though, is a little more forthcoming about the ways of the world:

Associates say he revels in his ability to “work the system,” as his friend and sometimes partner, Stanley Abrams, put it: “Nobody is as connected as Donald.”

Mr. Diamond is close to most of Arizona’s Congressional delegation and is candid about his expectations as a fund-raiser. “I want my money back, for Christ’s sake. Do you know how many cocktail parties I have to go to?”

Quit whining, pal. Nobody ever said that influence peddling was supposed to be easy. Especially when you’re dealing with a maverick straight talker like John McCain, who everybody knows never does special favors for big campaign contributors. Just ask him.