Hensley & Co., one of the nation's major beer wholesalers, has brought the family of Cindy McCain wealth, prestige and influence in Phoenix, but it could also create conflicts for her husband, Sen. John McCain, if he is elected president in November.
Hensley, founded by Cindy McCain's late father, holds federal and state licenses to distribute beer and lobbies regulatory agencies on alcohol issues that involve public health and safety.
The company has opposed such groups as Mothers Against Drunk Driving in fighting proposed federal rules requiring alcohol content information on every package of beer, wine and liquor.
Its executives, including John McCain's son Andrew, have written at least 10 letters in recent years to the Treasury Department, have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to a beer industry political action committee, and hold a seat on the board of the politically powerful National Beer Wholesalers Assn.
If Cindy McCain were planning to give up her role in Hensley if McCain is elected, that would be one thing -- but as it stands this sets up a situation without precedent in American history, a chairwoman of a large company with political interests living in the White House. I do think the First Lady candidates get way too much attention for their personality, style, etc., but this is political -- a real conflict of interest. I'm surprised it hasn't received more scrutiny.
It makes you want to pull John McCain aside and say....