Vicki Iseman

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Vicki L. Iseman
Born 1967
Homer City, Pennsylvania
Residence Washington, D.C.
Education Bachelor's degree in Elementary education (IUP)
Occupation Lobbyist (Alcalde & Fay)

Vicki L. Iseman (born 1967) is a Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist working for the firm Alcalde & Fay.[1] She gained national media attention in February 2008, due to her involvement in the John McCain lobbyist controversy.[2]


A native of Indiana, Pennsylvania, Vicki Iseman graduated in 1985 from the Homer-Center High School,[3] where she was a cheerleader and a member of the student council.[4] She went on to attend the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education in 1990.[5] In 2006, she delivered the commencement address at her old high school,[4] and would lobby for both that school and her alma mater during her career.[6] Her family still lives in Indiana County, where she is recalled as a "hometown girl who made good".[4]


Within months of graduation, Iseman joined a friend in Washington, D.C. and initially got a job as a receptionist at Alcalde & Fay. After a few months, she approached the president of Alcalde & Fay and said "I’m a college graduate and I’d like you to consider me for a secretarial or an administrative position." The president agreed to a three-month trial and within a year she became his special assistant.[5]

From this position, Iseman learned about lobbying from the firm's president, and soon became a lobbyist in her own right. Eight years later, she became the youngest partner in the history of Alcalde & Fay.[5]


Her clients have most notably been broadcasters who were interested in the regulation of cable television. Her most prominent broadcast clients from 1998 through 2006 have included PAX Network (and its corporate parent, Paxson Communications), CanWest Global Communications, Religious Voices in Broadcasting, ION Media Networks, Click Radio, i2 Telecom International, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Total Living Network, Jovan Broadcasting, Saga Communications, Capstar Broadcasting Partners, Telemundo, and the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (purchased in 2003 by Univision Communications, Inc. and renamed Univision Radio).[5][7] She is also known for her work for the telecommunications industry,[6] including her lobbying for BearingPoint and the Computer Sciences Corporation.[7]

Some of her other prominent clients have been PricewaterhouseCoopers, Carnival Cruise Lines (and the family trust of owner Micky Arison), AstraZeneca, CACI, FCCLA, American Medical Facilities Management, Marin County and Tulare County, California, Hillsborough County, Florida, and the cities of Miami, Florida, and Palm Springs, California.[7] She also lobbied for some charitable personal causes, including her aforementioned efforts for her former high school and university.[6]

Lobbying activities[edit]

On behalf of these clients, she lobbied both the House Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee.[8] In the course of hearings on communications bills in 1992 and 1996 which eventually led to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, she argued that cable TV should have to carry broadcast television.[8] She also represented her clients' interests with respect to the upcoming conversion to digital television; satellite reception; and telecommunications ownership provisions.

Her other activities as a lobbyist included public organizing on behalf of clients interested in the allocation of Federal Highway Administration trust funds, assisting clients interested in securing government contracts and government appropriations, and participating in political fundraising.[8]

Lawsuit against The New York Times[edit]

In December 2008, Iseman filed a US$27 million defamation lawsuit against The New York Times, alleging that the paper, in the course of describing circumstances of her lobbying activity, had falsely implied an illicit romantic relationship between her and Senator John McCain.[9] The Times said they "fully stood behind the article" and the story was "true and accurate".[10]

The suit was subsequently settled without payment in February 2009.[11] As part of the settlement, Ms. Iseman accepted the Times’ explanation,[12] which appeared in a "Note to Readers" published in the newspaper. The "Note to Readers" said: "The article did not state, and The Times did not intend to conclude, that Ms. Iseman had engaged in a romantic affair with Senator McCain or an unethical relationship on behalf of her clients in breach of the public trust."[13]

The article that prompted the lawsuit was published on February 21, 2008.[14] McCain's presidential campaign called the article "a hit-and-run smear campaign" and "gutter politics."[14]


  1. ^ Cindi Lash, Dan Majors (February 22, 2008). "Indiana County shows pride in Iseman". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  2. ^ Jim Rutenberg, Marilyn W. Thompson, David D. Kirkpatrick, Stephen Labaton (February 21, 2008). "For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ Jeff Himler (October 21, 2005). "Board expedites support for baseball field". The Dispatch. 
  4. ^ a b c "Lobbyist Linked To John McCain In Paper Is From Western Pa.". WTAE-TV. February 21, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b c d Bruce Dries (Fall 2002). "A View from the Top". IUP Magazine. 
  6. ^ a b c Cindi Lash, Dan Majors (February 22, 2008). "Indiana County shows pride in Iseman". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  7. ^ a b c "Career Client List, 1998 - 2006". Open Secrets. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  8. ^ a b c "Vicki Iseman". Alcalde & Fay. Archived from the original on 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2008-02-21.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "AFBIO" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  9. ^ Fletcher, Paul; Cooper, Alan (30 December 2008). "BREAKING NEWS: Lobbyist Vicki Iseman files $27M suit against New York Times". Virginia Lawyers Weekly. 
  10. ^ Johnston, David (December 30, 2008). "Lobbyist Sues Times, Citing Report of McCain Ties". The New York Times. pp. A15. Retrieved December 30, 2008. 
  11. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard (February 19, 2009). "Libel Suit Against The Times Ends". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Joint Statement", New York Times (2009-02-19).
  13. ^ "Note to Readers", New York Times (2009-02-19).
  14. ^ a b "For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk", The New York Times (2008-02-21).

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