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McCain takes oil money, embraces offshore drilling

On June 10, John B. Hess, a top executive at the oil company with his family name, summoned some friends at the 21 Club, a former speakeasy in Manhattan, and delivered $285,000 to John McCain and the Republican National Committee.

A week later, McCain traveled to Texas where he announced his support for offshore oil drilling. Hess Corp. is an East Coast gasoline retailer with major refining and exploration operations, some of which are offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Mccainenergy

Just as Barack Obama is raising large sums for the Democratic National Committee, McCain is placing a premium on raising money in $28,500 chunks for the RNC. Hess was one of a half-dozen hosts who tapped their friends for the $28,500 donations at the June 10 event. Others included investor Henry Kravis and hedge fund mogul Paul E. Singer.

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers dismissed the notion of a connection between the fundraising and McCain’s stand. “Mr. Hess was fundraising before Sen. McCain made the announcement on offshore drilling.”

Most of Hess donors are attorneys and vice presidents. But one, Alice Rocchio, listed her occupation as a Hess office manager. She gave $28,500 dated June 24, as did her husband, Pasquale Rocchio, who lists his occupation as Amtrak foreman, federal election records show.

The information first came out in a Campaign Money Watch report last week, followed by an item on Talking Points Memo, which raised questions about whether the Rocchios could afford to give $57,000 to a political campaign.

The Rocchios also gave a combined $4,600 in February, when Hess employees -- one of whom listed his occupation as a "driver" -- delivered an additional $23,000 to McCain. The couple had not given money to any other federal campaign in the past decade, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Records suggest that the Rocchios are not without resources. The couple listed an address is Flushing, N.Y., but have an Arizona home and property in North Carolina.

Hess also is among Obama’s donors: $2,300 in March 2007. Other Hess employees gave Obama a combined $3,500 earlier in the campaign.

-- Dan Morain

Photo: L.M. Otero / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (4)

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Good! I hope he takes all the oil money he can get so we can start drilling ANWR and the coastal shelves. At the same time we can be going after the Rocky Mountain oil shale.

It is well past time all these ill conceived, not all that well meaning relics of the Carter administration are finally flushed where they belong.

The fact that congress adjourned before dealing with the restrictions on domestic production shows all of us that McCain has the right idea.

At this point, I don't care if McCain takes in all the money he can from wherever he can! This is better than letting Obama outspend him.

Anything to beat Obama!!! This man is an ass! Now he says he wants ALL the delegates from Florida and Michigan to be counted at the Convention... it was because he was against counting their votes in the primary that caused him to steal the nomination away from Hillary... but now he is the presumptive nominee, he wants to appease those voters? Not only is he slimy, he will say and do anything, to get elected. He may even try to change the color of his skin, ala Michael Jackson, in order that race and color not be an issue for the election!

As a Hillary supporter, my vote goes to McCain!

McCain's flip-flops, recent ads, and misrepresentations of Obama's positions (for example, on the energy crisis), show that he is not the man of character he claims to be.

On a list of a (baker's) dozen reasons why he will lose, #7:

7. The Not So Straight-talk Factor: McCain has built his reputation on being a man of principle. This has two features: he believes in something and he sticks with what he believes in. McCain has recently begun to backpedal on principles and commitments. He is vulnerable to being viewed as a flip-flopper, if not dishonest, which will undermine his hitherto greatest strength.

“A Dozen Reasons Why McCain Won’t Win: Money-Back Guarantee”

John McCain to support drilling in ANWR, biggest news from Palin/Gipson interview.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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