Public Campaign Action Fund's project, Campaign Money Watch, has been doing extensive research into Senator John McCain's (R) recent reversal on the offshore oil drilling ban, and what a flood of contributions from the oil industry may have had to do with it. A couple of other organizations have picked up the thread and joined the effort to get an answer on whether campaign contributions from Big Oil are effecting McCain's policy decisions.
To recap: McCain used to be against offshore oil drilling, a position that put him in opposition to most of his party but he recently reversed his position on the subject right about the same time he received an influx of money from oil executives (not a constituency he traditionally raises much money from). Organizations like the Sierra Club and MoveOn are planning ad campaigns to draw attention to the problems with offshore drilling policy, and question whether McCain is acting in the best interests of voters, or campaign donors.
Interestingly enough, McCain is hearing even more about his campaign finances today -- and not from us. Gawker, that endlessly snarky New York gossip blog has done a satirical "fact check" of the McCain campaign's recent ad that splices pictures of Obama in with shots of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton:
Start with Gawker, which today reblogs ONTD's (that's "Oh No They Didn't" to the uninitiated) report that the parents of McCain ad target Paris Hilton, Rick and Kathy Hilton, are maxed out donors to McCain. Further investigation by The Trail confirms the report and shows that Paris Hilton's grandfather, Hilton Hotels chairman Barron Hilton, is also a Republican donor. He supported McCain opponent and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani in this year's GOP primaries.
Celebrity gossip site TMZ is in on the fun too, wondering whether McCain will take heat from the Hiltons for taking their cash then putting an image of their family's most visible member in an attack ad.
Never thought I'd see the day when getting the scoop on a celebrity story involved checking campaign finance filings but I couldn't be prouder.