Archive for Senate Ethics Committee

Say It Aint So, Sarah… McCain / Palin Create Dangerous Prologue

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2008 by halmasonberg

“Say it ain’t so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again.”

Ahhh, who can forget this recent folksy remark made just days ago by the lovely Sarah Palin to Joe Biden during their debate. But within what seems mere minutes (but was, in fact, about 24 hours), Gov. Palin attacked Barack Obama and suggested he was “palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.” As I wrote about in an earlier post, she was referring to Bill Ayers whom Barack Obama has called “somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.” 

But what are other sources saying about this? The New York Times states:

“the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers.”

CNN Political Ticker:

“False. There is no indication that Ayers and Obama are now palling around, or that they have had an ongoing relationship in the past three years. Also, there is nothing to suggest that Ayers is now involved in terrorist activity or that other Obama associates are….CNN’s review of project records found nothing to suggest anything inappropriate in the volunteer projects in which the two men were involved.”

The Washington Post called the Obama-Ayers link “a tenuous one.” 

The list goes on. But Palin is smear-happy, even going against her own running-mate’s wishes.  While talking to neoconservative columnist Bill Kristol, Palin said about Barack Obama’s relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright:

“To tell you the truth, Bill, I don’t know why that association isn’t discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country, and to have sat in the pews for 20 years and listened to that — with, I don’t know, a sense of condoning it, I guess, because he didn’t get up and leave — to me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up.”

Sen. McCain had said not all that long ago:

“I think that when people support you, it doesn’t mean you support everything they say. Obviously, those statements are things none of us would associate ourselves with.”

In fact, here he is elaborating on that very topic:

Well, doggone it, Sarah, what were you thinking? 

Patrick Ruffini, a Republican operative who worked on Bush’s reelection campaign, said today about McCain’s choice of bringing up the Obama-Ayers connection: 

“…he should have been doing it back in July. Starting now appears desperate.”

Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, posted this today:

McCain and his campaign now are acting out of frustration and a touch of desperation. With four short weeks to go, and a campaign where McCain is losing nationally, losing in the majority of the battleground states, with a diminishing number of hotly competitive blue state targets and an expanded number of red state ones, and with a campaign terrain dominated by economic turmoil, McCain needs to change the conversation.

Now, of course, the Obama campaign is hitting back by bringing up the Keating Five economic scandal I referred to in yesterday’s post. Here’s a 13 minute documentary put out today by the Obama campaign:

Now it needs to be said: In February 1991, the Senate Ethics Committee found McCain guilty of nothing more than “poor judgment” and declared his actions were not “improper nor attended with gross negligence.” In other words, McCain attended the meetings but did nothing else to influence the regulators. But it is this “poor judgment” that is in question here as the very same judgement cost taxpayers $2.6 billion, making it the biggest of the S&L scandals. In addition, 17,000 Lincoln investors lost $190 million. Slate.com adds:

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.

Sound familiar?

So what exactly WAS McCain’s relationship with Keating? Slate.com continues: 

After McCain’s election to the House in 1982, he and his family made at least nine trips at Keating’s expense, three of which were to Keating’s Bahamas retreat. McCain did not disclose the trips (as he was required to under House rules) until the scandal broke in 1989. At that point, he paid Keating $13,433 for the flights.

And in April 1986, one year before the meeting with the regulators, McCain’s wife, Cindy, and her father invested $359,100 in a Keating strip mall.

And what was McCain’s response to all this? Mccainkeatingfive.com says this:

John McCain

And what of Cindy McCain’s investment? After Keating was later convicted on 73 counts of fraud, conspiracy, and other crimes, Cindy McCain sold her investment for $15,000,000.

As Joe Biden stated, the past is prologue. Unfortunately for John McCain, unlike his accusations against Barack Obama, none of Mr. McCain’s past associations or history here is in the least bit tenuous or speculative but, in fact, well documented.

Resurrecting The Keating Five

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2008 by halmasonberg

With all the Swift-Boat-like attacks pouring out of the McCain/Palin camp aimed at Barack Obama, people may want to brush up on their Keating Five history and Mr. McCain’s involvement as one of those five. It seems it’s only a matter of time before someone decides to resurrect this piece of history and remind voters of one of the MANY skeletons in Mr. McCain’s closet. Remember the old saying about throwing stones in glass houses? 

Here’s a brief summary as outlined by Slate.com:

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”.

And if you don’t like that particular piece of history, you can purchase this John McCain doll at Entertainment Earth for only $12.99 and re-enact your own version of events. 

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