A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
by Faun Otter
John McCain believes that his actions in the Keating Five scandal were probably the worst thing he has ever done and "will probably be on my tombstone." 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.
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 that McCain only cashed out (at a million dollar profit) when Keating was jailed in the late 1990s. 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 U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars for a bailout. 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 meltdowns. 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 U.S. 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 nutshell: 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 temper destroy?
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.