McCain: The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ByLoSellHi, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. McCain: The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five

    The story of "the Keating Five" has become a scandal rivaling Teapot Dome and Watergate

    By Tom Fitzpatrick
    Published on November 29, 1989

    You're John McCain, a fallen hero who wanted to become president so desperately that you sold yourself to Charlie Keating, the wealthy con man who bears such an incredible resemblance to The Joker.

    Obviously, Keating thought you could make it to the White House, too.
    He poured $112,000 into your political campaigns. He became your friend. He threw fund raisers in your honor. He even made a sweet shopping-center investment deal for your wife, Cindy. Your father-in-law, Jim Hensley, was cut in on the deal, too.

    Nothing was too good for you. Why not? Keating saw you as a prime investment that would pay off in the future.

    So he flew you and your family around the country in his private jets. Time after time, he put you up for serene, private vacations at his vast, palatial spa in the Bahamas. All of this was so grand. You were protected from what Thomas Hardy refers to as "the madding crowd." It was almost as though you were already staying at a presidential retreat.

    Like the old song, that now seems "Long ago and far away."

    Since Keating's collapse, you find yourself doing obscene things to save yourself from the Senate Ethics Committee's investigation. As a matter of course, you engage in backbiting behavior that will turn you into an outcast in the Senate if you do survive.

    They say that if you put five lobsters into a pot and give them a chance to escape, none will be able to do so before you light the fire. Each time a lobster tries to climb over the top, his fellow lobsters will pull him back down. It is the way of lobsters and threatened United States senators.

    And, of course, that's the way it is with the Keating Five. You are all battling to save your own hides. So you, McCain, leak to reporters about who did Keating's bidding in pressuring federal regulators to change the rules for Lincoln Savings and Loan.

    When the reporters fail to print your tips quickly enough--as in the case of your tip on Michigan Senator Donald Riegle--you call them back and remind them how important it is to get that information in the newspapers.

    The story of "the Keating Five" has become a scandal rivaling Teapot Dome and Watergate. The outcome will be decided, not in a courtroom, but probably on national television.

    Those who survive will be the sociopaths who can tell a lie with the most sincere, straight face. You are especially adept at this.

    Last Friday night, on The John McLaughlin Show, which features well-known Washington journalists, the subject of the Keating Five was discussed. Panelist Jack Germond suggested that three of the Keating Five were probably already through in politics.

    So you spend your days desperately trying to make sure you will be one of the survivors. You keep volunteering to go on radio and television stations to protest your innocence. Last week you made ABC's Nightline.

    Not long before that you somehow managed to get James Kilpatrick, the national columnist, to write a favorable paragraph about you. Last Sunday morning, you made it to national television again; this time on ABC's This Week With David Brinkley. You smiled at the panel with your usual studied insouciance. Sitting next to you was Senator John Glenn of Ohio.

    Brinkley, Sam Donaldson, and George Will were the interrogators.
    It was a sobering scene. There you sat with Glenn, both sweating before the cameras, waiting to answer questions: two badly tarnished American icons.

    No one forgets that Glenn was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. You won't let anyone forget that you were a prisoner of war. But you have played that tune too long. By now your constant reminders about your war record make you seem like a modern version of Arthur Miller's tragic failure Willy Loman.

    Clearly, both you and Glenn sold your fame for Charles Keating's money.

    It was a Faustian bargain. It was also a bad joke on the rest of us and a disaster for many old people who lost their life's savings to Keating.

    The money was never really Keating's to give. But he never would have got his hands on it if you and the rest of the Keating Five didn't halt the government takeover for two long years while Keating's people continued their looting.

    And now, the tab for the Savings and Loan heist must be paid from taxpayer pockets.

    On Sunday, Senators Dennis DeConcini, Alan Cranston, and Riegle refused offers to appear on the Brinkley show. What must we make of that?

    You, the closest of them to Keating and the deepest in his debt, have chosen the path of the hard sell. You may even make it out of the pot, but to many, your protestations of innocence taste like gall.

    You are determined to bluff your way. You will stick to your story that you were acting to help a constituent and intended to do nothing improper. The very fact you attended the meeting makes you guilty, just as every man who entered the Brinks vault went to prison.

    You insist that an accounting firm Keating hired told you Lincoln was sound. Alan Greenspan, who Keating also hired, wrote a report saying it was sound. Why shouldn't you believe the people Keating hired? You were, after all, fellow employees.

    John Mc John McCain, Keating Five

    Perhaps you might silence your own conscience about all this someday.

    Just keep telling everyone that it was your wife's money invested in that shopping center with Keating and that you knew nothing about it.

    Keep saying that cynical newspaper people don't understand that every move you make has always been for the enrichment of Arizona . . . the education of our Native Americans on the reservations . . . for the love of the elderly in Sun City and Green Valley.

    Keep telling them that it wasn't that you were bought off but that Charlie Keating got special help only because he was one of the biggest employers in the state.

    Just keep sitting there and staring into the camera and denying that Keating bought you for money and jet plane trips and vacations.

    So what if he gave you $112,000? Just keep smiling at the cameras and saying you did nothing wrong.

    Maybe the voters will understand you took those tiring trips to Charlie's place in the Bahamas in their behalf. Certainly, they can understand you wanted to take your family along. A senator deserves to travel on private jets, removed from the awful crush of public transportation.

    You sought out a master criminal like Keating and became his friend. Now you've discarded him. It shouldn't be surprising that you are now in the process of selling out your senatorial accomplices.

    You're John McCain, clearly the guiltiest, most culpable and reprehensible of the Keating Five. But you know the power of television and you realize this is the only way you can possibly save your political career.
  2. Instead of reading bullshit-but then again you're a simple person-why not read more timely press coverage quoting participants who were actually involved in the hearings rather than vapid commentary from a pseudo-blogger.

    Of course this from the guy who until earlier today didn't know McCain's tested I.Q. nor his hero Ron Paul's record on restrictive reproduction rights. You're a shameless dude....,9171,971752-2,00.html
  3. The more senior citizens learn of John McCain's involvement in the Keating Scandal, given their current level of economic fear stemming from financial scandals, the more they'll revolt against him personally.

    Keating Scandal Still Haunts McCain

    Lessons From Disturbing, Formative Experience Applied To Senator's Current Campaign

    WASHINGTON, March 24, 2008

    Sen. John McCain's ethics entanglement with a wealthy banker ultimately convicted of swindling investors was such a disturbing, formative experience in his political career that he compares the scandal in some ways to the five years he was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, sits with his attorney John Dowd during a Senate Ethics Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in this Nov. 20, 1990, photo. (AP (file))

    "I faced in Vietnam, at times, very real threats to life and limb," McCain told The Associated Press. "But while my sense of honor was tested in prison, it was not questioned. During the Keating inquiry, it was, and I regretted that very much."

    In his early days as a freshman senator, McCain was known for accepting contributions from Charles Keating Jr., flying to the banker's home in the Bahamas on company planes and taking up Keating's cause with U.S. financial regulators as they investigated him.

    The Keating Five was the derisive name given McCain and four Democratic senators, including then-Sen. John Glenn of Ohio, who were defendants in a congressional ethics investigation of their connections to Keating. McCain is the only one still in the Senate. They were accused of trying to intimidate regulators on behalf of Keating, a real estate developer in Arizona and owner of Lincoln Savings and Loan based in Irvine, Calif.

    Keating and his associates raised $1.3 million combined for the campaigns and political causes of all five. McCain's campaigns received $112,000.

    The investigation ended in early 1991 with a rebuke that McCain "exercised poor judgment in intervening with the regulators." But the Senate ethics committee also determined McCain's actions "were not improper nor attended with gross negligence."

    McCain has claimed the Keating scandal sensitized him even to the appearance of potential conflicts of interest. But in recent weeks, McCain has defended himself anew over another instance in which he intervened with federal regulators on behalf of a prominent campaign contributor - years ago but after the Keating rebuke. Again, McCain denies acting improperly.

    McCain wrote two letters in late 1999 to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of Florida-based Paxson Communications. He urged quick consideration of a proposal to buy a television station license in Pittsburgh, although he did not ask the FCC commissioners to approve the proposal. At the time, one FCC commissioner's formal nomination was pending before McCain's Senate committee, and the FCC chairman complained that McCain's letters were improper.

    McCain wrote the letters after receiving more than $20,000 in contributions from the company's executives and lobbyists. Chief executive Lowell W. "Bud" Paxson also lent McCain his company's jet at least four times during 1999 for campaign travel.

    In the Keating investigation, the committee said more than one year had passed - a "decent interval" - between the last contributions Keating raised for McCain and the two 1987 meetings he attended with banking regulators. McCain later paid $112,000 - the amount Keating raised for him - to the U.S. Treasury.

    None of the five senators was punished by the Senate. The harshest rebuke went to Alan Cranston, D-Calif., who accepted $1 million in contributions tied to Keating. The ethics committee said Cranston "engaged in an impermissible pattern of conduct in which fundraising and official activities were substantially linked." Cranston died in December 2000.

    The ethics committee said McCain took no further action on Keating's behalf after regulators dropped a bombshell during a meeting with the senators: They intended to recommend a criminal investigation of Keating and his savings and loan.

    "The appearance of wrongdoing, fair or unfair, can be potentially as injurious as actual wrongdoing," McCain told the AP, reflecting on what he said were his lessons from the scandal. "Also, when questions are raised about your integrity or for that matter anything involving your public career, even, for example, a controversial position on the issues, it is best not to hide from the media or public."

    Now famously accessible to reporters as a presidential candidate, McCain conducted a poisonous newspaper interview nearly 20 years ago with his hometown Arizona Republic. Flashing his quick temper, he insulted, cursed and hung up on reporters questioning him about his ties to Keating. He said he now recognizes it was the worst way to respond.

    "Taking all the questions and making your arguments is the only way you can prevent an unfair or injurious public perception becoming fixed," McCain said.

    Former Sen. Warren Rudman, R-N.H., a Republican on the ethics panel who investigated McCain, said McCain's political comeback and his personal rehabilitation from his time as a POW were his biggest personal obstacles.

    "What happened in Vietnam and the Keating Five, those two were life altering," Rudman said in an interview. "He would not put a losing campaign in the same box. But not wallowing in self pity and doing something positive, that is absolutely John McCain."

    Republican Trent Lott of Mississippi, the former Senate majority leader, said McCain's political revival after the investigation was no accident.

    "He was so upset at the charges and the impact, he felt an extra need to deal with the kind of things that led to the situation he found himself in," Lott said in an interview. "You can go away disillusioned and angry and just leave, or you can go back to work and try to compensate for it. And that's what John has been about in the years since. He just went back to work. He bent over backwards to be extra careful about ethics."

    Keating went to prison for more than four years after a federal fraud conviction. The conviction was reversed on appeal after he argued that jurors improperly had knowledge of a prior state conviction on related charges. He was to be retried in federal court but instead pleaded guilty to four federal fraud counts. Keating admitted he siphoned nearly $1 million from his S&L's insolvent parent company. He was sentenced to time he already had served.

    After prison, Keating moved to his daughter's home in the wealthy Phoenix enclave of Paradise Valley. In 2006, he quietly began work as a business consultant in Phoenix. A spokesman for Keating, reached at his office, said Keating did not want to discuss the banking scandal or McCain's presidential campaign.

    Keating's Lincoln Savings and Loan sold worthless, high-risk junk bonds. Many of the 23,000 investors were elderly customers who didn't realize their investments were not federally insured. Many were left destitute while Keating maintained a lavish lifestyle. Keating also participated in the risky investments that led to the collapse of S&L's across the country.

    The U.S. government seized Lincoln in 1989, sticking taxpayers with a bailout cost of $2.8 billion. Many other thrifts collapsed, with taxpayers footing nearly $124 billion of the $152.9 billion bailout cost, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

    Depositors and politicians searched for culprits and turned up the five senators.

    Keating sought a quid pro quo from the five. He wanted government regulators, who were investigating Lincoln, off his back. And he demanded reversal of a new rule limiting an S&L's direct investment in risky ventures to 10 percent of assets.

    The banker's attitude was summed up the day a reporter asked whether his political donations to the senators encouraged their intervention.

    "I want to say in the most forceful way I can, I certainly hope so," Keating replied.

    But McCain had an additional image problem beyond the intervention and his acceptance of Keating's cash. The two former Navy pilots had become good friends, until the day Keating decided McCain wasn't doing enough for him and called the Arizona senator a wimp. Keating had flown McCain and his family on several occasions to his home in the Bahamas and other locations.

    When his company tried to take tax deductions for the trips, the IRS raised questions. McCain, who said he mistakenly thought his wife had reimbursed the cost, paid back more than $13,000 - years after the trips and after the senator knew of Keating's problems with the government.

    McCain, in his book "Worth the Fighting For," lamented that the senators "were now a two-word shorthand for the entire savings and loan debacle and the rotten way American political campaigns are financed."

    He also wrote: "My popularity in Arizona was in free fall. ... I expected a rough, and quite possibly unsuccessful re-election campaign in 1992. To the extent I was known nationally anymore, it was as one of the crooked senators who had bankrupted the thrift industry."

    McCain was re-elected in 1992 with 56 percent of the vote.

    © MMVIII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  4. Robert Bennett was the special counsel for the Keating Five and urged the Senate Ethics committee to dismiss McCain from the investigation. They refused because that would have left four democrats holding the bag. Everyone connected to it knew the only reason they kept McCain in was to have a republican.

    Bottomline, there was zero evidence that mcCain did anything wrong. Anything to distract from Obama's Bill Ayers and ACORN scandals I guess.

    Say what happened to bigdave? He is usually the Obama intern who puts out this stuff. Did he get a promotion? Are do they just reassign them when their cover is blown?