Skip to comments.Remember the Keating Five? McCain’s own standards would have hung him. (Mark Levin-2001)
Posted on 01/17/2008 10:04:04 PM PST by STARWISE
For too long, McCain has been given a free pass by the media, which promotes campaign-finance reform to silence other voices, and by his Republican colleagues, who are concerned about alienating McCain given the GOP's tenuous majority in the Senate.
In John McCain's America, any politician who accepts a large contribution or gift from a donor, and then takes steps consistent with the donor's interests even though there is no legal quid pro quo is corrupt.
Well, then, by his own standard, McCain is corrupt.
McCain was one of the so-called "Keating Five" senators.
He was investigated by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics in 1991 regarding the acceptance of favors from Lincoln Savings & Loan Association (Lincoln) and its owner, Charles H. Keating, Jr.
Simply put, the issue was whether McCain and the other senators used their official positions to attempt to pressure Federal Home Loan Bank Board officials to go easy on the troubled institution. Eventually Lincoln went bust, costing depositors and taxpayers millions.
In its final report (November 20, 1991), here is what the Senate Select Committee on Ethics concluded about McCain's conduct:
"Mr. Keating, his associates, and his friends contributed $56,000 for Senator McCain's two House races in 1982 and 1984, and $54,000 for his 1986 Senate race.
Mr. Keating also provided his corporate plane and/or arranged for payment for the use of commercial or private aircraft on several occasions for travel by Senator McCain and his family, for which Senator McCain ultimately provided reimbursement when called upon to do so.
Mr. Keating also allowed Senator McCain and his family to vacation with Mr. Keating and his family, at a home provided by Mr. Keating in the Bahamas, in each of the calendar years 1983 through 1986.
" [F]rom 1984 to 1987, Senator McCain took actions on Mr. Keating's behalf or at his request. The Committee finds that Senator McCain had a basis for each of these actions independent of the contributions and benefits he received from Mr. Keating, his associates and friends.
"Based on the evidence available to it, the Committee has given consideration to Senator McCain's actions on behalf of Lincoln.
The Committee concludes that, given the personal benefits and campaign contributions he had received from Mr. Keating, Senator McCain exercised poor judgment in intervening with the regulators without first inquiring as to the Bank Board's position in the case in a more routine manner.
The Committee concludes that Senator McCain's actions were not improper nor attended with gross negligence and did not reach the level of requiring institutional action against him.
The Committee finds that Senator McCain took no further action after the April 9, 1987 meeting when he learned of a criminal referral.
"The Committee reaffirms its prior decision that it does not have jurisdiction to determine the issues of disclosure or reimbursement pertaining to flights provided by American Continental Corporation while Senator McCain was a Member of the House of Representatives. The Committee did consider the effect of such on his state of mind and judgment in taking steps to assist Lincoln.
"Senator McCain has violated no law of the United States or specific Rule of the United States Senate; therefore, the Committee concludes that no further action is warranted with respect to Senator McCain on the matters investigated during the preliminary inquiry."
McCain was the only Republican implicated in the Keating Five scandal, yet today he lectures his party and his president about "the corrupting influence" of money in politics.
He rails against the so-called "wealthy special interests" and their ability to buy access to elected officials, yet this is precisely what the Keating Five scandal was all about. And, of course, under McCain's current standard, a politician who takes a principled position that may benefit a donor is corrupt, even if no law has been violated.
The John McCain of old should be thankful that his political fate wasn't determined by John McCain the reformer.
The 63-year-old senator admitted that “there have been times when I have probably been influenced” by campaign donatoins. Many listeners found the frankness refreshing and assumed he was talking about the cause celebre of the 1980s when McCain was one of the notorious Keating Five, named after convicted savings-and-loan executive Charles Keating.
In the presidential campaign, McCain had confided that his intervention with bank regulators on Keating’s behalf was the worst mistake of his adult life, one that caused him as much anguish as spending five years in a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp. The Arizona Republican said the incident taught him that “the appearance of impropriety” can be as damaging as actual wrongdoing.
But little did his listeners in Claremont know that McCain had just written letters to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of Paxson Communications, a major campaign contributor. Literally on the eve of the Claremont appearance, McCain was pressing the FCC to rule on Paxson’s proposed purchase of a Pittsburgh TV station.
When The Boston Globe disclosed the Paxson intervention a few weeks after the Claremont summit, McCain handled the disclosure with aplomb, even chutzpah. The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee argued that he had done nothing wrong and that the suspicion falling on him only reinforced his argument for campaign finance reform.
“We’re all tainted,” McCain said. “We’re all under suspicion as long as Washington is awash in special interest money.”
He soon released documents showing that he had intervened for many others, including other large campaign contributors. In the Paxson case, McCain insisted that he was simply “telling a bureaucracy to act,” not instructing them how to act. McCain also reminded NBC’s Tim Russert that “members of your network contact me too on telecommunications matters.”
But the argument echoed the defense raised in the Keating Five case. The five senators — McCain and Democrats Don Riegle, Dennis DeConcini, Alan Cranston and John Glenn — claimed they were simply performing a constituent service, raising Keating’s objection that unreasonable regulators were hurting his Lincoln Continental Savings and Loan. The senators met with federal banking officials twice, but stopped all efforts when told the case was going to the Justice Department.
Despite the garden-variety quality of the Keating Five episode, it exploded into a major scandal when it was disclosed that the senators had received large campaign donations from Keating.
The Keating Five came under a damaging ethics investigation, with McCain and Glenn drawing the lightest reprimands, only a finding that they had shown poor judgment. McCain also agreed to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in personal and campaign largesse from Keating.
If there’s one thing McCain has, it is chutzpah.
He and the EvilSHE would make a good pair.
The thing about the Keating scandal is that because of McCain’s inclusion it gets brushed off as a “bipartisan” scandal, when most of the trouble was with democrats.
Apparently Mark does not know Fred was the coauthor of this crap.
John McCain’s vision of America is not mine, but even with all my differences with him, I’d vote for him over any Democrat!
That is true.
I was going to sit out if McCain is nominated. However, I have gone on the record stating I will vote for the Democrat. McCain is not only left on most issues, he is unstable. With his temper, I wouldn't doubt he would put our brave Warriors at risk with some irrational action. McCain would consult Teddy for S.C. nominees. No way could I EVER cast a vote for McInsane.
If my beloved Republic is to be finally pushed into a Socialist Hell, let it be by the hands of a Democrat.
...If theres one thing McCain has, it is chutzpah.
He and the EvilSHE would make a good pair.”
He and evilShe would make a very EVIL pair !!!
Not looking so good about now.
electability is my overriding concern
Fred, Rudy, or McCain
is all we got
McCain is a liar,full of himself and aa RINO
And thanks for your military service Mr. McCain now go home and try for once in your life to stay out from in front of a camera.
Fun sport, watching McCain and Schumer fighting to be 1st in front of a news camera.
“Remember the Keating Five?”
Hillary’s campaign does. That is why the MSM is pushing McCain. If McCain is the nominee we will hear about the Keating 5 ad nauseaum for the next 9 months.
So I'll take away free speech for the
rest of you maggots! ARRRGGGGHHH!
I'll probably regret this, but I'll nitpick Levin's headline grammar. Horses are hung, men are hanged.
Voting for McCain destroys what remains of our sovreignty!
You are correct. I thought he was talking about CFR as McCain’s responst to the Keating 5. He wasn’t.
Not often enough.
Indeed. We try to do our part here in Texas, though.
I’ll begrudgingly support Romney...
Thompson is out.
After that, I’ll write in “Bullwinkle.”
The rest can go f&%@ themselves...
With this subprime lending “crisis,” the still smoldering embers of Enron (Demron) and WorldCom, you bet the Keating Five S&L bailout scam is gonna be a BIG issue...
Thanks for reminding me of the Keating 5. I knew my dislike of McCain was long-standing.
This is important to note in this campaign. McCain was invlved in helping a convicted racketeer. That shows truly Presidential judgment.