I have no idea if John McCain did any special favors for a certain telecom lobbyist. What I do know is that this statement released by the senator about the Drudge-fueled pre-scandal proves that McCain is lying:
I've never done any favors for anybody—lobbyist or special interest group—that's a clear, 24-year record.
Never? Anybody? Let's roll tape all the way back to, uh, this fall, when McCain released a book called Hard Call, which contained the following passage about his intervention with regulators on behalf of campaign benefactor (and eventual imprisoned felon) Charles Keating:
I did so for no other reason than I valued [Keating's] support. … Had I weighed the question of honor it occasioned and the public interest more than my personal interest to render a small service to an important supporter, I would not have attended the meeting. … I lacked humility and an inspiration to some purpose higher than self-interest.
And though it has gone down the collective rabbit hole of political memory, eight years ago McCain was busy fending off accusations that he intervened with regulators on behalf of major campaign contributors Paxson Communications and Ameritech. A June 2007 investigation by U.S. News & World Report spells out the details of McCain's long loving embrace with the telecommunications industry, and as a bonus includes this touching example of how the Senate's biggest campaign-finance scolds is also one of its best at skirting the regulations he's long championed:
McCain has been running for president for nearly a decade, using his PAC, Straight Talk America, his Senate campaign, Friends of John McCain, and the Reform Institute to help him along the way. Like other candidates, McCain has been quite adept at legally exploiting campaign laws to aid his presidential ambitions. […]
As for the Reform Institute, a lobbyist who knows McCain well says bluntly: "The Reform Institute is McCain's Achilles heel." Engaging in political activity would have violated the institute's tax-exempt status, but McCain, campaign aides, and institute officials all deny that the organization has played any role in promoting his presidential candidacy. The institute, established in 2001, kept McCain front and center as it promoted campaign finance reform in its many press releases and fundraising letters. Moreover, the institute was run for several years by Richard Davis, manager of McCain's 2000 presidential effort and CEO of his current campaign. The institute operated for a time out of Davis's lobbying offices in Alexandria, Va. Its chief fundraiser was Carla Eudy-the same Carla Eudy who has served as the chief fundraiser for McCain's Straight Talk America, Friends of John McCain, and his presidential committees. The institute's lawyer, Trevor Potter, also represents McCain's political organizations. Moreover, many of the big donors to the institute were large contributors to McCain's political races, campaign and institute records show.