Hensley, one of the nation's major beer wholesalers....founded by Cindy McCain's late father, holds federal and state licenses to distribute beer and lobbies regulatory agencies on alcohol issues that involve health and safety.
It has opposed groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in fighting proposed federal rules that would require alcohol-content information on every package of beer, wine and liquor.
Its executives, including McCain's son Andrew, have written at least 10 letters to the U.S. Treasury Department, contributed tens of thousands of dollars to a beer-industry political-action panel and hold a seat on the board of the powerful National Beer Wholesalers Association.
....The involvement of his wife and children in federal regulatory issues could create a conflict of interest for a future McCain administration, according to advocacy groups and political analysts.
....Cindy McCain is chairwoman of Hensley and controls about 68 percent of the privately held company stock with her children and the senator's son from his first marriage, according to records at the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control. Cindy and John McCain keep their finances separate, and he has no interest or role in Hensley.
If her husband is president and she retains her role at Hensley, Cindy McCain would set a precedent for outside corporate activity by a first lady.
...."You can't run a beer company out of the White House," said Samuel Popkin, a political-science professor at the University of California, San Diego. "You can't run any company from the White House. McCain is leaving a live hand grenade on the table, a major embarrassment."