Ghosts of Keating Five Past Returns to Haunt McCain?
John McCain, a member of the Keating Five back in the 90s, has reportedly tried to talk the New York Times out of running a story about the Arizona Senator giving special treatment to a lobbyist.
According to the Drudge Report, McCain has even hired super-lawyer and Washington insider Bob Bennett to tackle the problem.
Drudge uses the word “charges”: whether he means it in the legal sense of the word is hard to tell.
The following just popped up on the Drudge Report website a few minutes ago.
Just weeks away from a possible surprise victory in the primaries, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz has been waging a ferocious behind the scenes battle with the NEW YORK TIMES, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, and has hired DC power lawyer Bob Bennett to mount a bold defense against charges of giving special treatment to a lobbyist!
John McCain has put a lot of ground between himself and lobbyist treatment since his involvement in the Keating Five scandal.
It was speculated that McCain has backed the controversial campaign finance law, McCain-Finegold, because he wanted to change his public image after the Keating Five affair.
A little about the Saving and Loan honcho Charles Keating and the Keating Five:
In 1972, Keating began to work for American Financial Corp., a company involved in insurance and banking. Four years later he moved to Phoenix, Arizona to run the real estate firm American Continental Corporation, a spin-off of American Financial Corp. In 1984, American Continental Corporation bought Lincoln Savings. Such savings and loan associations had been deregulated in the early 1980s, allowing them to make highly risky investments with their depositors’ money, a change of which Keating took advantage.
Some regulators noted the danger and pushed for more oversight, but Congress refused. Some of this may be due to the Keating Five, five Senators (Dennis DeConcini, Alan Cranston, John Glenn, Don Riegle and Keating’s good friend John McCain) who had received some $300,000 from Keating in the 1980s as political contributions. They later met twice with regulators who were investigating American Continental Corp., in an attempt to end the investigation. (In 1990, they would be rebuked to various degrees by the Senate Ethics Committee.)
–Wikipedia: Charles Keating
Conservatives, free speech advocates and Libertarians have solidly come down against McCain-Finegold as unconstitutional. It remains a particular sticky point for McCain in winning wide-spread conservative support in his quest for the presidency.
About the effects of the Keating Five scandal on John McCain and his support for McCain-Finegold’s limits on, what some call, the constitutionally protected speech of campaign giving.
The image of John McCain has long been something of a straight-talking maverick.
Some of those qualities were forged following an early chapter of McCain’s political life, when he was one of the so-called Keating Five. That was a group of senators whose meetings 20 years ago with the owner of a failed Arizona savings and loan led to an ethics investigation and almost derailed McCain’s career.
An Improper Proposal
In the spring of 1987, McCain was just beginning his first term in the Senate. Charles Keating was a friend, a campaign contributor, and owner of Lincoln Savings and Loan. At the time, Lincoln was under investigation by federal regulators. As McCain recounted the story in an NPR interview two years later, Keating came to his office and offered to do certain things for him, as McCain put it, in return for McCain’s interceding with regulators.
–NPR: Scandal Shaped McCain’s Sense of Honor in Office
Any hint of McCain giving “special treatment” to a lobbyist would bring unwanted media coverage of his past concerning the Keating Five, where he escaped being indicted for–giving special treatment to a savings and loan.
More to come.