McCain’s Wife’s Money
Very good reporting on the origins of the Hensley millions, which helped McCain start his political career.
By now, many Americans know John McCain’s family story. His best-selling memoir, Faith of My Fathers, chronicles the lives of the senator’s father and grandfather, distinguished admirals. The book takes readers up through John McCain’s own military service, including his five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. But Faith of My Fathers ends there, a few years short of John McCain’s marriage to Cindy Hensley and the advent of his political career.
That’s only half the family story.
The rest could be called “Cash of My Father-in-Law,” a tale of how beer baron James W. Hensley’s money and influence provided a complement to McCain’s charisma and compelling personal story and launched him to a seat in Congress — and perhaps to the White House.
Taking advantage of restrictions on liquor by violating them to make money is a common racket. Joseph Kennedy, father of Jack, is supposed to have made money from illegal imports of liquor from Canada during Prohibition. Our no-longer-local beer company, Anheuser-Busch, though it didn’t score during Prohibition, did very well immediately after. Among the first public appearances of famous Clydesdales was a delivery of fresh cases of Budweiser to the White House in April 1933.
Added 26 Aug: more of the same from the Times: David M. Halbfinger, “For McCains, a public path but private wealth” New York Times 22 Aug 2008.