Leading with his chin

LEADING WITH HIS CHIN…. With just two weeks until Election Day, it’s probably too late for the McCain campaign to reconsider how it goes about launching new attacks, but McCain aides would be well served if they did a quick hypocrisy check before going on the offensive.

McCain decided not too long ago, for example, that it was scandalous to be associated with officials from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — except he’d hired Fannie/Freddie lobbyists for his campaign. McCain decided tax credits for low-income workers constitute “socialism” — except for the tax credits in McCain’s plan. McCain loathed Hollywood fundraisers with celebrities — except for his own trip to Hollywood for a fundraiser with celebrities. McCain is disgusted by voting against troop voting during a war — except for his own vote against troop voting during a war.

Then McCain announced that one of the single biggest issues on the political landscape was voter-registration fraud and whether Obama had ever paid a group accused of wrongdoing. Oops.

John McCain’s campaign has directed $175,000 to the firm of a Republican operative accused of massive voter registration fraud in several states.

According to campaign finance records, a joint committee of the McCain-Palin campaign, the RNC and the California Republican Party, made a $175,000 payment to the group Lincoln Strategy in June for purposes of “registering voters.” The managing partner of that firm is Nathan Sproul, a renowned GOP operative who has been investigated on multiple occasions for suppressing Democratic voter turnout, throwing away registration forms and even spearheading efforts to get Ralph Nader on ballots to hinder the Democratic ticket.

In a letter to the Justice Department last October, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers said that that Sproul’s alleged activities “clearly suppress votes and violate the law.”

That Sproul would come under the employment umbrella of the McCain campaign — the Republican National Committee has also separately paid Lincoln Strategy at least $37,000 for voter registration efforts this cycle — is not terribly surprising. Sproul, who has donated nearly $30,000 to McCain’s campaign, has been in the good graces of GOP officials for the past decade despite charges of ethical and potentially legal wrongdoing.

“It should certainly take away from McCain’s argument,” said Bob Grossfeld, a progressive political consultant based in Arizona who has followed Sproul’s career.

Rep. Chris Cannon, a Utah Republican said in May, “The difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn’t throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out.”

It’s hard not to get the impression that McCain just doesn’t think these attacks through.

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