Reprinted from www.libertylobby.org, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive
Big-Time Gangsters Set up McCain's Family Fortune
In 1976 a crusading Phoenix reporter, Don Bolles, was murdered by a car-bomb after writing a series of stories exposing the organized crime connections of well-known figures in Arizona, including one Jim Hensley.
Five years later "Honest John" McCain arrived in Arizona as the new husband of Hensley's daughter, Cindy. "From the moment McCain landed in Phoenix," according to Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity, "the Hensleys were key sponsors of his political career."
The fact is, the people ultimately behind the Hensley fortune are even more interesting and controversial
While it is well-known McCain's father-in-law is owner of the biggest Anheuser-Busch beer distributor in Arizona -- one of the largest beer distributors in the nation -- the media has had nothing to say about the origins of the Hensley fortune that financed McCain's rise to power.
The Hensley fortune, in fact, is a regional offshoot of the big time bootlegging and rackets empire of the Bronfman dynasty of Canada, founded by Sam Bronfman, an early partner of Meyer Lansky, longtime "chairman of the board" of the international crime syndicate. (The Bronfmans cover all bases. Sam's son, Edgar, today -- at least publicly -- supports George W. Bush.)
McCain's father-in-law got his start as a top henchman of one Kemper Marley who, for some forty years until his death in 1990 at age 84, was the undisputed behind-the-scenes political boss of Arizona. But Marley was much more: he was also the protege of Lansky's longtime lieutenant, Phoenix gambler Gus Greenbaum.
In 1941 Greenbaum had set up the Transamerica Publishing and News Ser vice, which operated a national wire service for bookmakers. In 1946 Green baum turned over the day-to-day operations to Marley while Greenbaum focused on building up Lansky-run casinos in Las Vegas, commuting there from his home in Phoe nix. Greenbaum, in fact, was so integral to the Lansky empire that he was the one who took command of Lansky's Las Vegas interests in 1947 after Lansky ordered the execution of his own longtime friend, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, for skimming profits from the new Flamingo Casino.
Greenbaum and his wife were murdered in a mob "hit" in 1948, their throats cut. The murder set off a series of gangland wars in Phoenix, but Marley survived and prospered
During this time Marley was building up a liquor distribution monopoly in Arizona. The truth is that it was the Bronfman family that set Marley up in business. However, in 1948, some 52 of Marley's employees (including Jim Hensley) went to jail on federal liquor violations -- but not Marley.
The story in Arizona is that Hensley took the fall for Marley. Upon Hensley's release from prison, Marley paid Hensley back by setting him up in the beer business. That company today, said to be worth $200 million, financed McCain's career. And without Marley's political support McCain could have never even gotten elected dogcatcher.
But there's more. McCain's father-in-law had also dabbled in the dog racing business and he expanded his family fortune further by selling his dog racing track to an individual connected to the the Buffalo-based Jacobs family.
The Jacobs were the leading distributors for Bronfman liquor into the United States during Prohibition into the hands of local gangs that were part of the Lansky syndicate. Expanding over the years, the family's enterprises were once described as being "probably the biggest quasi-legitimate cover for organized crime's money-laundering in the United States."
While John McCain himself can not be held personally responsible for the sins of his father-in-law, the fact is that this "reformer" owes his political and financial fortunes to the good graces of the biggest names in organized crime.