We ran across a story written in 1994, a full 14 years ago, detailing the Cindy McCain “almost” drug-theft scandal which the McCains managed to weasel their way out of.
These days Cindy McCain is the picture of the glowing, supportive spouse of a politician running for President. It was a different picture back then, at least in private, as the McCain’s managed to turn the tale of Cindy’s scheme for stealing narcotics using the doctors who worked in the charity she ran, into one of “redemption”.
At the time, journalists were willing to play along, the “tearful” confession, the claims of attempting to battle her addiction by seeking treatment, which turned out to be untrue.
GOP presidential candidate John McCain’s wife Cindy took to the airwaves last week, recounting for Jane Pauley (on “Dateline”) and Diane Sawyer (on “Good Morning America”) the tale of her onetime addiction to Percocet and Vicodin, and the fact that she stole the drugs from her own nonprofit medical relief organization.
It was a brave and obviously painful thing to do.
The Phoenix New Times wrote an extensive piece covering the McCain’s machinations to keep Cindy out of jail and out of the harsh public eye. After all, how would the the public feel about a woman who stole narcotics to feed her habit using the very doctors who worked for her charity? They also attempted to have the unintentional whistle-blower, Tom Gosinski, charged with extortion.
And it worked, to a “T”.
From the John McCain website:
As an advocate for children’s health care needs, Cindy founded and ran the American Voluntary Medical Team (AVMT) from 1988 to 1995. AVMT provided emergency medical and surgical care to impoverished children throughout the world. Cindy led 55 medical missions to third world and war-torn countries during AVMT’s seven years of existence. On one of those missions, Mother Teresa convinced Cindy to take two babies in need of medical attention to the United States. One of those babies is now their adopted daughter, 15 year old Bridget McCain.
A friend of Cindy’s, Tom was hired in September of 1991 as director of government and international affairs. Tom says that by the summer of 1992 he and other employees thought Cindy’s behavior to be so erratic that “she was addicted to the prescription narcotics Percocet and Vicodin. They believed she was obtaining these drugs illegally in the names of her employees and the public charity she founded.”
Tom kept a journal of those days, days where he took Cindy and the kids on trips and taught one of her children to swim, days where Cindy’s behavior was the talk of the office.
July 20, 1992: Well, this morning I received a call from Francis Fote, a doctor who traveled to El Salvador with AVMT. Fote called to inform me that he had visited with Cindy on Friday regarding the use of his DEA number. He asked that I tell Cindy his number could only be used in the state of New York as that is where he is licensed. I do not know what Cindy is up to but it appears as though she is trying to use several doctors’ DEA #’s so that she can acquire drugs for personal use. Kathy Walker has stated several times in the past that this has been going on for quite some time and that the DEA has questioned large acquisitions of drugs such as percocet. We know that 300 percocet have been missing from AVMT’s inventory and that Cindy says they are locked up at her home. I really don’t know what is going on but I certainly hope that Cindy does not get herself or AVMT in trouble. I also hope that if it is necessary, Cindy is able to get help before she does herself harm. . . .
By October Tom wrote that Cindy’s parents, the wealthy Budweiser distributors, Jim and Smitty Hensley, had confronted Cindy about her drug abuse.
I understand that she told the Hensleys her addiction was rooted in her unhappiness–her marriage–and that she took the pills to mask her depression. The Hensleys told Cindy they knew she had a problem because of her severe mood swings and her change in character. They also said her meanness towards others was not excusable and must stop. . . .
A few days later Tom said that Cindy called him and told him something quite interesting, that she had contacted the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) herself, “and asked that an investigation be conducted to ‘investigate allegations made against her.’ She said a ‘bogus’ phone call had been received which made wild accusations about her and that she believed the phone call was ‘political.’ Cindy also said she had called the supposed originator of the call and that the individual denied ever making the call. . . .”
Cindy fired Tom in January 0f ’93 citing a lack of funds to continue his position.
Because of Cindy’s pattern of stealing the DEA numbers of the physicians who worked for her charity and using them to forge prescriptions under other unsuspecting person’s names, Tom decided to find out if he had been one of Cindy’s useful victims.
After he contacted the DEA he found that Cindy had indeed used his name twice on prescriptions in order to obtain narcotics for her own use. It was when he decided to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against AVMT that the full weight of the McCain’s wrath and their attorney, John Dowd, fell upon him. Ironically it was Dowd who inadvertently exposed Cindy’s drug use by going after Tom, claiming Tom’s civil suit was “extortion”.
In a “confidential” April 28 letter to Romley, Dowd blurted, “We believe that Mr. Gosinski is aware that in the past Cindy had an addiction to prescription painkillers. . . . Given Cindy’s public position, exposure of this sensitive matter would harm her reputation, career, the operation of AVMT, and subject her to contempt and ridicule.”
A former prosecutor, it was Dowd, as John McCain’s attorney, who managed to keep McCain a peripheral character in the Keating Five Hearings. Dowd represented Fife Symington’s $210 million settlement with the Resolution Trust Corporation. And it was Dowd the McCain’s used as an attack dog against Tom. Dowd claimed Tom had attempted to “extort” Cindy while Tom had merely filed a wrongful termination suit.
There was now a civil suit, Tom’s, which never got anywhere, and now charges of extortion against Tom, courtesy of the McCain’s, and the investigation of Cindy and the AVMT by the DEA and the U.S. Attorney of drug acquisition and handling at AVMT.
“If she were charged in state court–and there is an offense that fits her case to a T–she’s looking at Class 3 felonies,” says one defense attorney. “If we assume conservatively that there were six separate counts, her liability in state court is astronomical. She could have been looking at ten to 20 years, with a presumptive sentence of 11.25 years and two-thirds served before she would be eligible for parole.
When the story of Cindy’s drug use hit the streets Cindy told reporter Steve Meissner of the Arizona Daily Star that she had “completed a diversion program established by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
This was patently untrue. There was also the matter of when John McCain learned of his wife’s penchant for pill popping and theft. According to Phoenix Gazette columnist John Kolbe, “it was John Dowd who informed the senator that his wife was an addict in January 1994. County records show that Dowd was representing Cindy McCain in talks with the DEA in May 1993.”
Cindy also told reporters she had gone into rehab earlier that year, in ’93, but she admitted to county investigators she had done rehabs in both ’91 and ’92.
It’s All In The Presentation
Amy Silverman of Salon has the McCain’s well-rehearsed schtick on how to manipulate the media and the public.
But both of Cindy McCain’s staged, teary drug-addiction confessions have been vintage John McCain. His MO is this: Get the story out — even if it’s a negative story. Get it out first, with the spin you want, with the details you want and without the details you don’t want.
McCain did it with the Keating Five, and with the story of the failure of his first marriage (Cindy is his second wife). So what you recall after the humble, honest interview, is not that McCain did favors for savings and loan failure Charlie Keating, or that he cheated on his wife, but instead what an upfront, righteous guy he is. Source – Salon
Cindy was never prosecuted for illegally pilfering controlled substances or the theft of physician’s DEA numbers to illegally obtain narcotics, something other, less-well connected citizens have done time for in the slammer. Instead she’s busy “standing by her man” in the 2008 presidential election.
After rumors of McCain possibly playing footsies with a lovely blond lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, Cindy declared:
“Well, obviously, I’m disappointed,” she said, her voice low but clear and self-assured. “More importantly, my children and I not only trust my husband, but know that he would never do anything to not only disappoint our family, but disappoint the people of America. He’s a man of great character.” Source – AP
The kind of character of a guy who admitted not only cheating on his first wife after she waited for him to return from Hanoi as a POW but was still married to her when he began an affair with 18 years younger Cindy, Budweiser distributor heiress.
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