Postscript: More on McCain and the Keating Five

Postscript:a message appended at the end of a letter after the signature; additional information appended to a book or article. From the Latin: post=after, scribere=to write

John McCain is no saint. We know this – for example courting his second (rich) wife, while still living with his first (seriously injured) wife. He has a bad temper.  We know this too (see below for one of many examples). And he is no fan of regulating the financial industry – see Pretense.

But back in 1999 his hometown paper, the Arizona Republic (read the whole story there!), had some not very nice things to say about him during the Keating Five investigation:

It all started in March 1987. Charles H Keating Jr., the flamboyant developer and anti-porn crusader, needed help. The government was poised to seize Lincoln Savings and Loan, a freewheeling subsidiary of Keating’s American Continental Corp.

As federal auditors crawled all over Lincoln, Keating was not content to wait and hope for the best. He’d spread a lot of money around Washington, and it was time to call in his chits…

McCain and Keating had been friends since 1981. By 1987 McCain had received about $112,000 in campaign contributions from Keating and associates. The other four senators in the Keating Five had gotten about $200,000

Charlie Keating always took care of his friends, especially those in politics. John McCain was no exception…

McCain had also carried a little water for Keating in Washington. While in the House, McCain, along with a majority of representatives, co-sponsored a resolution to delay new regulations designed to curb risky investments by thrifts like Lincoln. …

As the S&L failure deepened, the sheer magnitude of the losses hit the press. Billions of dollars had been squandered. The Keating Five became shorthand for the kind of political influence that money can buy. The five senators were linked as the gang who went to bat for an S&L bandit.

McCain’s critical error was in spinning his side of the story:

…that Keating was a constituent and that he had every right to ask his senators for help. In attending the meetings, McCain said, he simply wanted to make sure that Keating was treated like any other constituent.

Keating was far more than a constituent to McCain, however. On Oct. 8, 1989, The Republic revealed that McCain’s wife and her father had invested $359,100 in a Keating shopping center in April 1986, a year before McCain met with the regulators.

The paper also reported that the McCains, sometimes accompanied by their daughter and baby-sitter, had made at least nine trips at Keating’s expense, sometimes aboard the American Continental jet. Three of trips were made during vacations to Keating’s opulent Bahamas retreat at Cat Cay. McCain also did not pay Keating for the trips until years after they were taken, when he learned that Keating was in trouble over Lincoln. Total cost: $13,433. [snip]

When the story broke, McCain did nothing to help himself. When reporters first called him, he was furious. Caught out in the open, the former fighter pilot let go with a barrage of cover fire. Sen. Hothead came out in all his glory.

”You’re a liar,”’ McCain snapped Sept. 29 when a Republic reporter asked him about business ties between his wife and Keating. ”That’s the spouse’s involvement, you idiot,” McCain said later in the same conversation. ”You do understand English, don’t you?”

He also belittled the reporters when they asked about his wife’s ties to Keating. ”It’s up to you to find that out, kids.”

And then he played the POW card. ”Even the Vietnamese didn’t question my ethics,” McCain said.

He eventually weaseled out of this, sort of, but not without being covered in slime trails of his own making. Read the whole piece.  And here’s some interesting video on this:

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