Monday, October 6, 2008

Keating Five Documentary Released by Obama Campaign

As I mentioned earlier today, the Obama Campaign released today a 13-minute documentary that covers John McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five scandal. The scandal involved a huge failure of some savings and loans, where it was believed some elected officials, McCain being one of them, were complicit in the fraud involving these S&Ls along with financier Charles Keating.

It is important to note that while John McCain was cleared in the actual scheme, the Ethics Committee did not approve of his behavior in the matter. Here’s a brief entry from Wikipedia that summarizes the Ethics Committee’s take on McCain:

The Ethics Committee ruled that the involvement of McCain in the scheme was also minimal, and he too was cleared of all charges against him. McCain was criticized by the Committee for exercising "poor judgment" when he met with the federal regulators on Keating's behalf. The report also said that McCain's "actions were not improper nor attended with gross negligence and did not reach the level of requiring institutional action against him....Senator McCain has violated no law of the United States or specific Rule of the United States Senate."

But the video explains a little more of McCain’s involvement, which does seem to cofirm that John McCain’s judgment was certainly poor.

If you have the time to spare, watch, or simply listen to the YouTube video below. There is also a scathing article from the 1989 Phoenix News, which referred to McCain as “The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five” (excerpt follows)“ :

You're John McCain, a fallen hero who wanted to become president so desperately that you sold yourself to Charlie Keating, the wealthy con man who bears such an incredible resemblance to The Joker.

Obviously, Keating thought you could make it to the White House, too.

He poured $112,000 into your political campaigns. He became your friend. He threw fund raisers in your honor. He even made a sweet shopping-center investment deal for your wife, Cindy. Your father-in-law, Jim Hensley, was cut in on the deal, too.

Nothing was too good for you. Why not? Keating saw you as a prime investment that would pay off in the future.

So he flew you and your family around the country in his private jets. Time after time, he put you up for serene, private vacations at his vast, palatial spa in the Bahamas. All of this was so grand. You were protected from what Thomas Hardy refers to as "the madding crowd." It was almost as though you were already staying at a presidential retreat.

Like the old song, that now seems "Long ago and far away."

Since Keating's collapse, you find yourself doing obscene things to save yourself from the Senate Ethics Committee's investigation. As a matter of course, you engage in backbiting behavior that will turn you into an outcast in the Senate if you do survive.

They say that if you put five lobsters into a pot and give them a chance to escape, none will be able to do so before you light the fire. Each time a lobster tries to climb over the top, his fellow lobsters will pull him back down. It is the way of lobsters and threatened United States senators.

And, of course, that's the way it is with the Keating Five. You are all battling to save your own hides. So you, McCain, leak to reporters about who did Keating's bidding in pressuring federal regulators to change the rules for Lincoln Savings and Loan.

When the reporters fail to print your tips quickly enough--as in the case of your tip on Michigan Senator Donald Riegle--you call them back and remind them how important it is to get that information in the newspapers.

The story of "the Keating Five" has become a scandal rivaling Teapot Dome and Watergate. The outcome will be decided, not in a courtroom, but probably on national television.

Those who survive will be the sociopaths who can tell a lie with the most sincere, straight face. You are especially adept at this.

It goes on, and you can read the rest at this link.

I have very strong recollections, and also strong feelings about the whole Keating Five matter. One of the Savings and Loans in which my husband had our life savings and checking accounts with were temporarily closed when the scandal first broke, amid concerns that certain S&Ls outside the failure of Lincoln Saving and Loan were somehow connected and also possibly not solvent. Imagine not having access to any of your money for even a few days, when you are unable to write a check or withdraw cash. It is unsettling to say the least. And while McCain was cleared of the actual fraud, just in the fact that he was called out for his poor judgment tells me that he did have some involvement in this mess. While it technically wasn’t fraud, it seems like he stepped on the line.

So, if you have time to watch or listen to the video, you should do so. If not, take a moment to read some of the articles at the link I’ve provided here and just read a bit to get a flavor for the magnitude of this mess. Yes, it happened long ago. But to me, it is paints a picture of the real John McCain.

If you have trouble loading the video above, it can also be viewed at the following link from .

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