McCain said he has "never done any favors for anybody — lobbyist or special interest group."
The Drudge Report, citing "newsroom insiders," reported that "McCain has personally pleaded with NY TIMES editor Bill Keller not to publish the high-impact report involving key telecom legislation before the Senate Commerce Committee."
McCain denied personal contact with the Times, but said the paper has been "communicating with our staff and with us."
He also questioned the timing of the report, which come roughly two weeks before the Iowa caucuses.
"We're getting close to the primary," he said. "These allegations are coming out at a very interesting time, and I have never, ever done a favor for any lobbyist or special interest group."
Washington lawyer Bob Bennett, whom McCain has hired to respond to the allegations, vowed that McCain would not be brought down by them. "What is being done to Senator McCain is an outrage," he said in a statement.
The Washington Post reports that "Bennett is preparing answers to written questions submitted by a team of New York Times reporters who have spent weeks investigating questions about the senator and the lobbyist."
In a statement, the McCain campaign said "John McCain has a 24-year record of serving this country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the important issues facing our country."