Star Tribune financial backers and handlers are top John McCain campaign contributors

In the course of posing a question to John McCain in the new issue of Newsweek, George Will reminds us of some connections between McCain's benefactors and the Star Tribune's:

You say "some greedy people" on Wall Street "perhaps need to be punished." So, government should treat greed as a crime—as punishable? What other departures from virtue deserve punishment? How do you distinguish between greed and the socially useful pursuit of personal gain? Your top 20 contributors include this dozen: Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse, Lehman Brothers, Bank of New York Mellon, Morgan Stanley, Wachovia Group, Bridgewater Associates, Blackstone Group and Bear Stearns. Are any contributions from these financial institutions so tainted by greed that you are returning them?

Notice any familar names in there? Yes, Credit Suisse is a lender to the Strib and could take over in the event of bankruptcy, though Publisher Chris Harte recently said, ""Credit Suisse and the other lenders absolutely do not want to run the newspaper." And the Blackstone Group is the cost-cutting company that's currently running the show.

Although there are some donors that cross over and are also among Obama's top contributors, Credit Suisse and Blackstone Group are not among them.

Which makes one wonder how this might affect the Star Tribune's coverage of the upcoming presidential race. I'm sure Editor Nancy Barnes would argue, "not at all," but when the bosses are cutting the newsroom by 10%, do you really want to get on their bad side?

Here is the list of McCain's top contributions. I've highlighted the two that are also neck deep in the Strib's finances:

Merrill Lynch $226,550

Blank Rome LLP $222,050

Citigroup Inc $206,102

Greenberg Traurig LLP $173,837

AT&T Inc $149,305

Goldman Sachs $128,770

Morgan Stanley $124,951

JPMorgan Chase & Co $123,450

Credit Suisse Group $115,625

Lehman Brothers $98,400

Univision Communications $87,000

Bank of New York Mellon $86,500

Blackstone Group $86,350

IDT Corp $84,850

Wachovia Corp $84,050

UBS AG $82,865

Bear Stearns $80,200

MGM Mirage $76,100

Bridgewater Assoc $69,900

PricewaterhouseCoopers $69,850