Holy crap. This is red meat folks, and it's tied to the person at the top of the GOP ticket -- this is huge. Stories about Cindy McCain's abuse of and theft of prescription drugs from her charity in the 90s has been well-documented, but many of the scandalous details have not been discussed by the national media.

Well, that bit of silence in this case has come to an end. A whistleblower has gone on the record about John McCain's use of his Senate staff and resources to sweep the matter of his wife's illegal actions under the rug. Now we're talking about the people's business. (via Open Left):

Today, Tom Gosinski, her former employee and a close friend of the McCain's, came out on the record about the entire sordid episode. And it appears that McCain used his Senate staff and resources to cover up Cindy's drug use, and potentially to prevent the Drug Enforcement Agency from investigating his wife's theft of illegal prescription drugs. John McCain certainly used his political connections to begin a campaign of intimidation against Gosinski, because at the time - this was after the Keating 5 scandal - another major scandal would have derailed his career. Gosinski stayed quiet out of fear until today; a recent fight with cancer has strengthened his resolve. As he told me today, if he can beat cancer, he can go on the record regarding how the McCain's do business.

We need an investigation into what happened here. What did McCain know about the investigation of his wife and did he use his power as a Senator to help her abuse drugs or avoid prosecution? When he was one of a hundred Senators, it was of minor importance. And now? Well it would be nice to know if the next President is engaged in behavior more characteristic of an influence peddling mob boss than an upright politician.Gosinski was an employee of Cindy McCain who helped her run her charity, the American Voluntary Medical Team (AVMT) in the early to mid-1990s. At the time Gosinski worked for her, Cindy McCain was addicted to prescription painkillers, taking between 30-50 pills a day of Vicatem and/or Percocet. She had doctors writing out prescriptions in other peoples' names, including Gosinski. When Gosinski found one of the prescription slips, he got angry, and Cindy had him fired. This part of the story is just kind of sad, but not damning; Cindy McCain was a lonely and bored wife who turned to drugs in place of what was a loveless marriage full of fundraisers and in all likelihood, various infidelities (or so were the rumors Gosinski heard at the time).

Now, it begins to get dangerous and vicious after Gosinksi was fired. At first the McCain's said they'd help him find a job, but it became clear to Gosinksi that McCain was using his political connections to blackball him from another job in Republican politics in Arizona. So he sued the McCain's for wrongful termination, and went to the Drug Enforcement Agency to find out the legal repercussions of having prescriptions for painkillers written in his name. To retaliate, McCain then had his political ally, Rick Romley, open an extortion investigation against Gosinksi. In the course of that investigation, it was revealed that the DEA was circling around Cindy McCain and her charity. It's not clear what they were investigating her for, but it is clear she was bringing illegal prescription drugs around the world on a diplomatic passport secured for her by McCain's Senate office.

McCain's Senate staff and Senate resources were intimately involved in Cindy's work with the charity. John McCain procured her a diplomatic passport, which meant that her bags were not searched by customs, and Mark Salter and Torie Clarke were both coordinating with Gosinski on logistics for the trips abroad.

And there's much more, so click over. So how is the McCain campaign going to try to weasel out from under this? There are too many landmines in this story that will result in questions Straight Talk McCain will have to answer. There should be a Congressional investigation into this, given the gravity of the situation and the questions raised about the abuse of power. What does this thuggery say about how McCain will behave in the White House? How many other people may be persecuted with our taxpayer dollars under his orders?

If there's one thing that the McCain camp wants to avoid is anything that deviates from the milked-to-death image of John McCain as the "Maverick" and patriotic POW, and neither of those labels applies to the insider, backstabbing, petty man using his power to destroy someone to protect his reputation and image because of his drug-addled wife's "little problem" that was about to break wide open. This is The Real McCain, and it's time for voters to see this image before they go to the polls.

This story needs to be driven hard - is this the kind of change McCain/Palin plan to bring to Washington? He looks an awful lot like the long list of corrupt GOP officials we've been dealing with since Cindy was popping pills back in the day.