John McCain…. more of the same Bush/Chaney falsehoods, lies and misgivings.
John McCain and the Keating Five, What Every Voter MUST Know
During the 2000 Republican Presidential Primaries, Slate.com writer Chris Suellentrop wrote an excellent in-depth feature article about John McCain and his role in the Keating Five. This is a must read article for every American, especially for anyone who thinks John McCainis a hero.
Two Important things to know before you read the article:
1. John McCain admitted to intentionally filing false income tax returns to defraud the IRS by not claiming thousands of dollars in gifts McCain and his family received from Charles Keating and Keating’s company. Years later, when the IRS noticed Keating’s company had written off the gifts to McCain as business expenses, McCain fessed up and admitted filing false returns and made a “donation” to the U.S. Treasury to cover the amount he defrauded American tax payers. (Committing tax fraud is one of the least offensive things John McCain has done over his career, but this article just focuses on his role in the Keating Five, and the Lincoln Savings and Loan scandal of the late 1980’s-early 1990’s). McCain also leaked information about the Keating Five to the press multiple times in an effort to appear above the other Senators in the scandal. A 1989 Phoenix New Times article summed it up best with their title - McCain: The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five.
2. John McCain’s wife, Cindy McCain, along with her father, made a $359,000 investment in retail property owned by Charles Keating in 1986, a year before John McCain first met with federal regulators on behalf of Keating. Keating was later convicted on 73 counts of fraud, conspiracy, and other crimes. Years later, Cindy McCain sold her investment for $15,000,000.
For anyone not aware of the Keating Five, here’s a very simple summary:
Charles Keating owned a savings and loan in California. He was illegally using the money of his bank’s customers to give loans to himself and friends that they didn’t have to repay, and to speculate on risky real estate investments, which was strictly forbidden by U.S. law (and was one cause of the Great Depression).
When the feds found out what was going on and launched an investigation into Keating and his company, Keating called five U.S. Senators whom he had wined, dined, and lavished with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations and personal gifts.
Keating asked the five Senators to tell the feds to bug off, and the five Senators, later known as the Keating Five, obliged, meeting with federal investigators twice and pressuring them to stop investigating Keating’s crimes. They bought Keating some time, but the feds didn’t give up and eventually Keating was nailed. The reason the feds were so persistent was because Keating wasn’t playing with mere chump change. Keating blew $3.4 billion through illegal personal loans and bad investments, and the FDIC had to reimburse Keating’s customers who had been ripped off.
(Background Info - Keating wasn’t the only Savings and Loan owner who was committing fraud, 20% of the S&L;’s that failed during that three year period were found to have been caused by fraud and/or insider trading. The failure of the Lincoln Savings and Loan and other S&L;’s pushed the country into a recession, costing the U.S. government $126 billion dollars in FDIC insurance payouts to investors. All of this came to a crescendo during the first year of the presidency of George H.W. Bush, who pushed through the S&L;bailout plan to keep the economy afloat.)
When the involvement of the Keating Five was made public, a scandal erupted and the Senate Ethics Committee launched their own investigation into whether the Keating Five had violated Senate ethics rules. The other four Senators left office either immediately or within one term. John McCain was formally rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee for exercising “poor judgment” for intervening with the federal regulators on behalf of Keating, but because McCain accepted Keating’s gifts of travel and vacations to Bahama while McCain was a member of the House of Representatives (he served one term there before moving to the Senate), the Senate claimed they had no jurisdiction to censure McCain. (However the meetings to pressure federal regulators occurred during the first few months of McCain serving in the Senate in 1987, so that excuse doesn’t hold up)
John McCain then went back to the drawing board and re-invented himself as “the Straight-Talk Express” and the media gobbled it up. “Tax-Evading-Criminal” doesn’t sound as catchy as “Straight-Shooting-War-Hero”.
Ever since the scandal, when McCain lies today, it’s never questioned, because he’s a “straight talker”. The man has more skeletons in his closet than any politician in history. The Keating Five is just one bone.