Saturday, August 09, 2008

McCain: "A Poster Boy for Corruption"

Down With Tyranny: How corrupt is McCain really? Amy Silverman knows. As an Arizona reporter, she's covered him longer and in more depth than all the Inside the Beltway shills combined. Her New Times piece yesterday should be read by every American who cares about an honest, clean government. It is the definitive John McCain biography and it goes way beyond taking money from Jordanian bundlers and giving it back when he gets caught.
I've been a writer and editor at New Times for 15 years. For much of that time, I wrote about Arizona politics, which is to say that I wrote about John McCain. It's still odd to see the guy in the spotlight, because for quite a while, I was pretty much the only one covering him.
I never did fall for him in the way reporters fall for politicians, probably because he wasn't much to fall for back in the early 1990s. In those days, McCain was still rehabilitating the image he'd later sell to the national media. He was known then for cavorting in the Bahamas with Charlie Keating, rather than for fighting for campaign finance reform and limited government spending.
No one seems to remember Keating much, anymore. Amazing. McCain and his fellow
Arizonan, Democrat Dennis DeConcini, were hauled before the Senate Ethics Committee along with three other senators to explain their actions on behalf of Keating's Lincoln Savings and Loan.
Keating gave the senators hefty campaign contributions, then called on them to meet with bank regulators to pressure them to go soft on an investigation of Lincoln. There were two infamous meetings. McCain attended both.
It's true that McCain was the first to back off when the appearance of impropriety became obvious, and the ethics committee was easier on him than most of the others, partly because some of McCain's actions on behalf of Keating took place while he was in the House, and therefore not under the purview of the Senate Ethics Committee.
More important, what often gets lost in the retelling is McCain's close personal
relationship with Keating. McCain took trips with Keating, including to his retreat in the Bahamas, and reimbursed him only after the fact was made public.
It was also revealed that Keating had a business relationship with Cindy and her father, Jim Hensley, who ran a very lucrative Anheuser-Busch distributorship in Phoenix.Most shocking, perhaps, given McCain's image today, is that McCain took more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from Keating and his employees, between 1982 and 1988.
You may be surprised to know that in 1987 and 1988, McCain voted against federal legislation reforming the campaign finance system. It was only in 1990, in the aftermath of Keating and the shadow of an upcoming re-election campaign, that he started supporting reform. Ditto for his efforts to cut government spending.

Please read Silverman's whole story. If McCain manages to become president, you should know what kind of a person we have sitting in the White House.

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