Are John McCain's Robocalls Unethical?

December 10 2009, 10:49 AM

McCain, JohnIf you pick up the phone in Colorado---or one of several other possible swing states---you might just hear the pre-recorded voice of former Republican presidential candidate and Arizona Senator John McCain rallying support for his efforts to remove language from a health-care-reform bill, which he claims would cut funds from Medicare. The calls are designed, some Democrats believe, to make Democratic senators, like Colorado's Michael Bennet, who is facing election in 2010 and has introduced his own protections for Medicare, look bad. But now McCain is coming off as the bad guy---at least in the eyes of watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which has filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee (via The Huffington Post). CREW cites Senate Rule 38, which prohibits senators from using private donations to support official Senate activities, claiming the National Republican Senatorial Committee has paid for the robocalls in swing states. "The NRSC is clearly paying for it," says CREW director Melanie Sloan, "but it is McCain lobbying for his own bill." Meanwhile, health reform is moving ahead in the Senate, with five liberals and five centrists claiming they can resolve differences over a public plan, insurance coverage for abortions, and other sticky points, including paying for the nearly $1 trillion bill (via The New York Times.)