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More on McCains' finances

A Senate disclosure sheds further light on the multimillion-dollar assets of the candidate's wife.

June 14, 2008|Ralph Vartabedian | Times Staff Writer

Cindy McCain, the wife of the presumptive Republican nominee, made more than 220 financial transactions last year in her multimillion-dollar financial enterprise -- including 13 deals that exceeded $1 million each -- according to the financial disclosure Sen. John McCain filed Friday.

The fast pace of trading may reflect Cindy McCain's efforts to liquidate a blind trust, which is allowed under Senate ethics rules but may run afoul of the rules followed by presidential candidates.

The disclosure statement shows that she has assets of about $20 million, with many of her biggest holdings valued at more than $1 million. The disclosure form conforms to long-standing Senate rules that effectively hide the wealth of most politicians.

She and her children own the majority of Hensley & Co., said to be the third-largest Budweiser distributorship in the nation. Her wealth is estimated at more than $100 million.

Her husband's campaign office did not respond to questions about the disclosure.

A disclosure by the presumptive Democratic candidate, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, shows that he has assets of $2 million to slightly more than $7 million. His finances got a huge boost last year from more than $4 million in book royalties. Last year, he and his wife put more than $1 million in a money market account, at least $500,000 into Treasury notes and at least $200,000 into college savings accounts.

The McCain disclosure does not present a complete picture of the family's finances. It shows that Cindy McCain and the accounts for her dependent children executed 160 asset sales during 2007 worth about $21.6 million and 68 purchases worth $7.5 million. It does not explain the discrepancy.

Democrats said the disclosure lacked transparency.

"If John McCain expects the American people to trust him with the future of our country, he should respect their right to examine his business and financial holdings," said Damien LaVera, a Democratic National Committee spokesman.

In liquidating her blind trust, Cindy McCain made 46 sales of various stocks, including General Electric, Chevron Texaco and Merck. The trust showed only a single purchase, with apparently all the money going into a money fund with the amount ranging from $500,000 to $1 million.

Other of her accounts hold far more. The largest single trust appears to be the Marguerite Hensley Survivors Trust, set up by her late mother. The trust made three purchases for more than $1 million and two sales of more than $1 million into similar accounts.

Meanwhile, the Arizona senator's assets include a bank checking account holding between $15,000 and $50,000, and a money market account with less than $15,000. Two other bank accounts, which he holds jointly with his wife, each have less than $15,000.

The disclosure also lists the couple's debts. John McCain appears to be debt-free. Cindy McCain has two interest-free charge cards with debt of $100,000 to $250,000 each, along with some credit lines that go up to $1 million.

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ralph.vartabedian@ latimes.com

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