Sen. John McCain said Friday that while lobbyists serve as close advisers to his presidential campaign, they are honorable and he is not influenced by corruption in the system.
McCain, who has styled himself as an enemy of special interests, defended having lobbyists working for his campaign. He is the expected Republican presidential nominee.
"These people have honorable records, and they're honorable people, and I'm proud to have them as part of my team," McCain told reporters following a town hall meeting in Indianapolis.
The issue of lobbying and influence has arisen in published reports, first in The New York Times and then in The Washington Post, suggesting that McCain had an inappropriate relationship with a female lobbyist and advanced the interests of her clients. McCain on Thursday emphatically denied the reports.
Siding with McCain, the White House accused the Times of repeatedly trying to "drop a bombshell" on Republican presidential nominees to undermine their candidacies.