The Return of McCain's Keating 5 Scandal
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John McCain has called his Keating Five experience "the worst mistake of my life." The Obama campaign, however, insists McCain has learned nothing from this mistake. Today at noon Eastern, they are launching a 13-minute documentary highlighting McCain's involvement in the savings-and-loan scandal: www.keatingeconomics.com
In the 1980s, McCain strong-armed federal regulators to protect Charles Keating, the crooked banker at the center of the S&L crisis. McCain had accepted $112,000 in campaign contributions, gifts, and trips from Keating, a McCain family friend. Keating went to prison; McCain was only rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee for his "poor judgment."
While McCain has tried to rebrand himself as a reformer since the darkest days of his congressional career, his hand in the current economic crisis echoes his Keating Five experience. McCain and his economic adviser Phil Gramm led the charge on the deregulation that helped cause the financial collapse, and McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis was on Freddie Mac's lobbyist payroll from 2005 until August 2008. And both the 1980's S&L scandal and the current economic meltdown resulted in massive bailouts at the taxpayers' expense.
ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.