McCain and the Keating Five

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I've been hearing more about McCain and the Keating Five scandal lately. Pretty much none of it is true. There's not a lot of recollection about it, so here's the basic facts.

In 1991, Democratic Senators Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, and Donald Riegle were found by the Senate Ethics Committee (of the Democratic-led Congress) to have substantially and improperly interfered with an investigation of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, run by Charles Keating.

Two other Senators, John McCain (R) and John Glenn (D) were completely exonerated of any wrongdoing. The record shows that McCain severed all ties with Keating immediately upon the revelation that he was under a criminal investigation. The Ethics Committee said 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."

McCain's only sin was in meeting with regulators on behalf of Keating at all, not because he exerted undue influence -- which did not happen -- but because it could have given that appearance. Basically, he made a rookie political mistake (one he has obviously learned from). But he did nothing actually wrong.

Some Democratic members of the Ethics Committee said that McCain should not even be investigated, because there was no evidence against him. Some people say he was included by the Democrats only to make it look less like the scandal was all Democrats, and that in response to McCain's improper inclusion in the investigation, the Republicans pressed to get Glenn included as well.

The bottom line is that McCain did nothing wrong, and everyone who uses the Keating Five as an example of corruption against McCain either doesn't know what they are talking about, or is being intentionally deceptive.

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"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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