Temper Caused his Keating Five Scandal
by Faun Otter
John McCain believes that his actions in the Keating
scandal were probably the worst thing
he has ever done and "will probably be on my
tombstone." (1) So why has the press hardly
mentioned this outrageous behavior?
Maybe they don't think anyone cares that McCain
accepted bribes and knowingly broke the law
as a result of one of his famous temper tantrums.
Here's what you need to know about McCain's Keating
Five scandal. (2)
Charles Keating helped McCain's father-in-law
buy McCain his seat in congress in 1982.
Keating and Cindy McCain were partners in a shopping
mall venture which McCain only cashed out
(at a million dollar profit) when Keating was
jailed in the late 1990s. (3) Keating was obsessed with
obliterating pornography while he was using his
corporation's money for wild drunken parties,
at least one of which McCain attended.
McCain hid from Congress that he had taken 9 trips
on Keating's jet. These included three vacations
at Keating's mansion on Cat Cay in the Bahamas
that McCain and his wife shared with Charlie Keating
and his family. McCain got more money than any
of the other four politicians at the heart of the Keating
scandal. When asked if he was buying or influencing
McCain with his gifts and money, Keating replied,
"I want to say in the most forceful way I can,
I certainly hope so!"
Charlie Keating was running a series of shell
corporations to hide cash he moved illegally from Lincoln
Savings and Loan. Lincoln became the largest
S & L to collapse and cost US taxpayers thousands of
millions of dollars for a bail out. When Federal
bank regulators, led by Ed Gray, tried to limit Keating's
worst excesses, Keating sent a letter to McCain
describing the bank board (FHLBB) as a police state
under a mad dog's leadership.
And then McCain had one of his melt downs.
This was the key moment in McCain's Keating Five
scandal and it occurred at March 19 1987.
Keating asked McCain to pressure bank auditors
not to enforce the law against Lincoln S&L.
McCain told Keating he was uncomfortable strong
arming the nation's financial regulators. Keating
taunted him, "McCain's a wimp." At 1:30, in his
senate office, McCain exploded into fury, "One thing
I'm not is a coward." McCain screamed at Keating
that he hadn't lived in a box for five years to have
his courage questioned. McCain's aides were very
surprised by McCain's tantrum and even Keating
begged him to calm down.
McCain didn't back off. He shouted that he knew
it was not appropriate for him to negotiate on
Keating's behalf with regulators who were
looking into the illegal activities at Lincoln Savings and Loan.
Keating told McCain that he should not bother
going to the meeting. McCain was still mad and replied,
"No, I'm going to that meeting."
Later that day, Keating boasted that he "knew
how to get McCain's attention."
McCain met Ed Gray on April 2, 1987. Against all
protocol, McCain didn't allow Gray to bring
any staff or attorneys to the meeting and also
excluded his own aides. He later said this was because
he wanted to be able to deny everything. McCain
tried to force Gray to ignore a banking regulation
that affected Keating's Lincoln S&L.
McCain kept referring to Keating as, "my friend."
Seven days later, bank regulators were summoned
to the Senate for an unusual late night meeting.
McCain wanted the auditors to let Lincoln continue
making real estate loans without carrying out
credit checks, a clear violation of the law.
This is also the practice that has led to the current US
economic crisis. When asked by his aides about
the meeting, McCain whistled through his teeth
rather than answer their questions.
Here it is in a nut shell:
In 1987, McCain tried to force bank regulators
to ignore the law for his friend and benefactor,
Charlie Keating. McCain knew this was improper
but plunged recklessly into the meetings after
Keating taunted him for being a coward.
McCain almost destroyed his career by accepting
bribes and letting mere words goad him into
knowingly breaking the law.
If he was President, what might else might McCain's
(2) Extracted from Trust Me: Charles Keating
and the Missing Billions by Michael Binstein
and Charles Bowden,
Random House 1993 http://tinyurl.com/3r25xs
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