POLITICS

McCain Bundler, Booted Over Role In FCC-Fined Telecom, Now Staffs Palin

10/12/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

When International Discount Telecom, a company known more commonly as IDT, was slapped with a $1.3 million fine by the FCC this July for failing to disclose a foreign contract, John McCain's campaign was quick to scrub its fundraising roster of anyone associated with the embattled company.

But now, one of the formerly untouchable IDT officials has resumed a new, more prominent, role on McCain's team -- specifically, overseeing Sarah Palin's travel, schedule and communications operations.

As Portfolio's Lucy Komisar reported in July, IDT head Jim Courter served as one of McCain's "trailblazers," meaning he had raised over $100,000 for the GOP nominee. But soon after news of his company's shady business dealings came to light, he stepped down as a fundraiser, and his name disappeared from the McCain campaign's website, as did the name of Michael Glassner, another McCain bundler who served as a corporate communications official and vice-president at IDT until April. At issue was the company's alleged deal made with former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide for a monopoly on telephone service in exchange for kickbacks paid into an offshore shell corporation. If true, that would represent a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The company was tagged with its FCC fine for having failed to disclose its contract with Haiti.

But now, according to a report in the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Glassner has taken an arguably much more plum role in McCain's universe.

"Glassner is the head of vice presidential operations for the McCain campaign, overseeing Sarah Palin's travel, schedule and communications," the paper reported in a small item toward the bottom of its Republican National Convention coverage. "A Jersey City resident, Glassner is a former executive at IDT Corp., a global communications company based in Newark. He joined the campaign a few months ago and began coordinating vice presidential details even before McCain chose a running mate."

Though the Star-Ledger's report was somewhat vague on Glassner's start date on the McCain campaign, it appears possible he went straight from the soon-to-be-fined company to the McCain campaign. Questions sent to two McCain spokesmen about when Glassner started, and whether the apparent ban against campaign help from IDT officials has been lifted, were not immediately returned.

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