11/22/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ethics Trickle Down, McCain

When the old warrior John McCain selected Palin -- who is the subject of bi-partisan investigations for ethics violations -- he sent a message that resonates all the way down the ticket. There are numerous examples, but the most indicative is probably in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Why there?

Have you noticed ongoing "gotcha's" against Congressman Murtha? The Congressman is a hero to his constituents and in no danger of losing his district. The real story came out last week in Pittsburgh. A leading Pennsylvania Republican admitted on camera that his party was losing, even in their Southwestern strongholds. I have said it before; electoral college math shows that the only way that McCain can win the White House is to win in Pennsylvania. If they cannot win the state's Southwest, they know they cannot win the state.

The candidate against Congressman Murtha is an individual calling himself, Lieutenant Colonel William Russell. Now just like Russell, I am a retired lieutenant colonel but I seldom go by that title and if I do use it, I always identify myself retired as required by regulations. A minor point but indicative of Russell's character. There is more. Apparently Russell is also involved in an Army Reserve Headquarter investigation into allegations that Russell operated his campaign against Mr. Murtha from Russell's Pentagon office using Pentagon equipment. So clearly, we have another ethically challenged Republican Candidate. But now, Russell totally casts his ethics aside in a desperate attempt to recover Southwestern Pennsylvania for McCain. Here is Russell's latest outrage.

Fisher House is one of my favorite charities. I quote from their website:

"Supporting America's military in their time of need, we provide "a home away from home" that enables family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful time -- during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury."

They provide housing for the families of our military near military and VA medical centers when our troops are experiencing a medical emergency. Why do I mention Fisher House? Because they literally should be above the fray. No candidate of any party should "use" Fisher House for a political campaign. We members of the military family understand this completely. But now, I receive a copy of a letter sent to Russell by attorneys representing Fisher House™ . The subject was: "unauthorized use of Fisher House Foundation in Campaign Materials" and addressed a scheduled "Bill Russell's Hot Dog Day". The October 15, 2008 letter specifically demands that Russell and his campaign:

"...cease and desist using or referencing Fisher House, its logo or anything referring to Fisher House in any of its literature or communications... Fisher House further notifies you that it will not accept any proceeds resulting from this unauthorized event or from the campaign at any time."

The bottomline is that candidate Russell ignored the letter and had his " Bill Russell's Hot Dog Day" with Fisher House logo and all. He is willing to violate a tremendous agent for good, Fisher House, to accomplish his task of delivering Southwestern Pennsylvania to John McCain.

Clearly, Russell betrayed all military and civilian ethical standards for political gain. There is no doubt that Congressman Jack Murtha will defeat Russell but it remains to be seen if southwestern Pennsylvania will vote for Obama. John McCain, you must repudiate Russell's shameless use of Fisher House for political gain. Will you? I know the John McCain of 2000 would have and with a vengeance.