Blogging from Phoenix—The Republican primary fight between incumbent Senator John McCain and talk radioâ€™s J.D. Hayworth is getting nasty. Mr. Hayworth whoÂ spent six terms in congress before ties to organized corruption and financial scandal inspired voters to toss him out, is displaying reluctance to release the names of those who have been helping him settle legal bills he accumulated in connection with corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Hayworth inaugurated his campaign by attempting to hurl some political mud, but is nowÂ whining that JohnÂ McCain is conducting a smear campaign. A fact check reveals the McCain camp formally requested J.D. make public the names of those who contributed to his freedom in truth trust which was established to pay off $142,000 in legal bills left over from the Abramoff scandalÂ Senator McCain points out in a web ad that Hayworth has a moral obligation to let voters know exactly who gave cash to retire his debt.
The Web video calls on Hayworth to “come clean on his Abramoff trust fund. Hayworth’s campaign accused McCain of attempting to smear the former congressman by highlighting his relationship to Jack Abramoff under the ruse of calling for transparency. The record indicates Mr. Hayworth actually pledged last year to release the names of those who donated if he entered the Senate race.
Hayworth claims that despite having racked up nearly one hundred and fifty thousand dollars in legal bills he was never one of the major players in the congressional influence-peddling scandal. While Mr. Hayworth managed to avoid criminal charges during the investigation and eventual conviction of Jack Abramoff, it exposed sordid and unsavory conduct that most political pundits agree cost J.D his seat in congress and swung a traditionally GOP seat into the democratic fold. Â
Revelations of unreported box seats at sporting events, cash from Indian casinoâ€™s linked to Abramoff and in kind contributions that Hayworth initially failed to disclose began to consume the campaign news cycle in his 2006 congressional race. In the last couple weeks of the race when his democratic challenger began to close in the polls, the wheels seemed to fall off Hayworthâ€™s campaign, a staffer dispatched to shore up support for J.D. at a Jewish synagogue ended up insulting the congregation.
His emaciated physical appearance sparked rumors of prescription drug abuse and blogs circulated allegations of marital infidelity. In the weeks following the election Hayworth seemed to become detached from reality and refused to accept he had lost the race, proclaiming confidence in a statistical election miracle that uncounted overseas and mail in ballots would swing his way andÂ he refused to concede. Weeks later as Harry Mitchell was preparing to join other freshman representatives in D.C for orientation J.D had yet toÂ admit he was no longer a congressman.
I speculate J.D. HayworthÂ knows his chances of beating JohnÂ McCainÂ are slim to none,Â butÂ at the end of the day, he will haveÂ raised aÂ pile ofÂ campaign cash and under current law, what ever isÂ left is his to keep, at least thats my view, yours may be different.