McCain Supporters and Their Land Swaps
A Washington Post investigative article focuses new attention on deals involving federal land and campaign contributors to presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain.
The Post's Matthew Mosk reports that McCain championed legislation that will let an Arizona rancher trade remote grassland and ponderosa pine forest in his home state for acres of valuable federally owned property that is primed for development, a land swap that now stands to directly benefit one of his top presidential campaign fund-raisers.
The Arizona Republican was a key figure in pushing the deal through Congress after the rancher, Fred Ruskin, and his partners hired lobbyists that included McCain's 1992 Senate campaign manager, two of his former Senate staff members and an Arizona insider and major McCain donor. The job of building as many as 12,000 homes on the property was later given to SunCor Development, a Tempe, Ariz., firm run by Steven A. Betts, a longtime McCain supporter.
Betts says there is "absolutely no" connection between his contributions to McCain's presidential bids and the deal.
Questions about the Arizona development follow a New York Times story in April about McCain's relationship with a real estate developer and campaign fundraiser who also benefited from land swaps.
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