By John Dougherty, Amy Silverman
February 17, 2000
John McCain derived his wealth from his marriage to Cindy Hensley McCain, whose father started his road to riches as a bootlegger. As a politician, the senator has remained beholden to the liquor industry and the family business.
Would United States Senator John McCain be a presidential contender if it weren’t for his marriage to Cindy Hensley McCain, heiress to the Hensley liquor fortune?
It’s doubtful. The senator’s wife and — more important — his father-in-law, James Willis Hensley, are very wealthy people.
Like his father and grandfather before him, McCain was a career Navy officer. His earning power and his inheritance were modest. At its peak, his pay as a captain was about $45,000.
But he retired from the military in 1980, divorced his first wife, wed Arizona native Cindy Lou Hensley and moved here to plunge into the world of politics. His first job in Arizona was as a public affairs agent for Hensley & Company, one of the nation’s largest beer distributors. He was paid $50,000 in 1982 to travel the state, touting the company’s wares. But he was promoting himself as much as he was Budweiser beer. A better job description might have been “candidate.”
In 1982, Cindy drew more than $700,000 in salary and bonuses from Hensley-related enterprises as her husband was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in his first political campaign.
Cindy McCain Refuses to Release Her Tax Returns… Ever
Cindy McCain on NBC’s Today Show, May 8, 2008
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