Tag Archives: government

Keating 5 Prosecutor Bob Bennett Speaks 10/6: McCain Exonerated

Keating 5 Prosecutor Bob Bennett, self-acknowledged Democrat, spoke with attorney Mark Levin about the investigation on Levin’s radio show Monday, October 6.

(The following is a transcript of the portion of the interview that is pertinent to the Keating 5 case. For a full transcript of the entire interview, which also includes an interesting conversation about the Iran-Contra scandal, visit this post. For audio of the full show, which Levin posts to his website go to marklevinshow.com.)

Mark: Well, first of all, your book, In the Ring: Trials of a Washington Lawyer. We’ve linked to that on marklevin.com. It’s a terrific book and that is why I want to talk to you.

Bob: Thanks, Mark, yeah.

Mark: You have a chapter on the Keating 5. And Bob, this is very important, now, because, people are bringing up, i don’t want to drag you into politics, but people are bringing up William Ayers, and suddenly this Keating 5 thing pops up again. Why don’t you tell us, give us a thumbnail sketch of what happened there and what was the deal about John McCain.

Bob: I’ll stick to the public record. What my role was – I was hired by a bi-partisan Senate Ethics Committee to investigate what was known as “The Keating 5″.  And in essence, what it was, was that there was something called the Direct Investment Rule which Charles Keating was opposed to. What it did was it basically said that Savings and Loans, which he owned one, couldn’t, were limited in where they could invest their money. Senator DiConcini scheduled a meeting with several Senators  to meet with the head of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and pressure them.

And, Senator McCain attended that meeting. And one thing led to another and the Ethics Committee conducted an investigation. And I investigated it for a long, long time, well over a year. For the purpose of determining whether or not the Senators, including McCain, violated any standards, rules, ethical prohibitions. And at the end of the investigation, I concluded that Senator McCain and Senator Glenn should be exonerated, that is, that there should be no further action against them, but that was rejected by the Committee and there were some twenty-six days of public hearings.

As you know, Mark, ’cause on the occasions we’ve met, I- we argued some. I’m a Democrat, as you know. But, I had to call it the way the evidence dictated, and I called it that John McCain did nothing wrong. How Heflin, who at the time, was the Chairman of the Committee, was very concerned that there be twenty-six days of hearings with only Democrats in “the docks”, so to speak, so my recommendation about exonerating Senators Glenn and McCain was rejected and we went forward. But… it’s….and at the end of the day, it was pretty clear, from all the evidence, that there was no violation by Senator McCain.

I’m sorry to be so long but that’s in a nutshell, what happened.

Mark: Well, it’s important, because it’s a long time ago, we have five and a half million people listening and we gotta get this right, Bob. And, it seems to me, that based on what you’re saying, based on what I’ve read in your book, and what you’ve said before, frankly, that he was thrown into this for political reasons, and it’s being raised again, you don’t have to answer the last part, I’m commenting, it’s being raised now for political reasons. John McCain is not an unethical man, can you, can we agree on that?

Bob: Let me say this: from all the evidence, he’s not a friend of mine, although I guess, in the spirit of full disclosure, years after the Keating case, just this past year, he hired me as a lawyer, to represent him in connection with this dispute about lobbying he was having with the New York Times. But, at the time I made my findings, I was totally independent, and I’m not a surrogate of his in this political…. You know, I represent too many people on both sides of the aisle. But the direct, that as background, I certainly saw nothing in my investigation that would call into question, John McCain’s ethics. When he learned that there had been a referral to the Justice Department by the regulators, uh, he withdrew from any assistance to Keating and in fact, got into a big argument with Charles Keating, who called McCain “a wimp”, which did not sit well with the Senator. So, I certainly, based on my investigation in that case, saw nothing to call in to question John McCain’s ethics.

Mark: And you’ve represented, you’re right, people of all political stripes and so on.

senate-bailout

Chris Dodd: “I’d like to thank the Academy…”

Senate Majority Leader / Master of Ceremonies Reid, Award Recipient Sen. Dodd, and Sen. McConnell
Senate Majority Leader / Master of Ceremonies Reid, Award Recipient Sen. Dodd, and Sen. McConnell

Washington, D.C. – Post Senate Bailout Vote Award Ceremony

From the halls of the United States Senate:

In a self-congratulatory ceremony Wednesday evening, after the Senate passed the bailout bill, Master of Ceremonies, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, presented the much-coveted award for Best Performance as the Senate’s Most Shameless Grifter, to Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut. Prior to turning over the microphone to Sen. Dodd for his acceptance speech, Sen. Reid, for the umpteenth time in the last two weeks, heaped praises on his esteemed colleague, noting how important his leadership in the Senate has been over the years, and particularly in passing the bailout bill.

Award winner Dodd proudly stepped in front of the microphone, saying the bill’s passage was due to “the tone of the Senate leadership”. Dodd, not to be outdone by Leader Reid, made sure he heaped loads of praise on Reid’s leadership, which included pointing out how Reid had made the so very gracious invitation to Senators McConnell and Gregg to work on the bill. Dodd explained that “this moment wouldn’t have come” without all of this great leadership. “I’d be remiss as well if I didn’t thank other people who were critically important in this….” Our coverage ends abruptly at this point as the on-the-scene pool cameraman from whom we received our footage was suddenly struck by a mysterious wave of nausea and didn’t finishing cleaning off his shoes before Dodd stepped away from the microphone….

Following the ceremony, a reporter questioned the president of The Academy for Corruption in Government, on the likely reason for Sen. Dodd having been chosen for the award over Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, who was widely believed to have been a shoo-in. Stevens was recently indicted by the U.S. Justice Department and is currently standing trial for not properly reporting thousands of dollars of home improvement work from a contractor.

“The reason Sen. Dodd was chosen over Sen. Stevens, is simple: Sen. Stevens was disqualified. Once he was being held accountable for his actions, he was no longer eligible for the award. In order to meet the criteria of ‘Shameless’, you can’t be held accountable and you have to appear before the press, make speeches on the Senate floor, and play, or at least create the appearance of playing, a central role in creating legislation that is somehow related to the problem caused by the original graft. Besides, while Stevens is definitely a grifter, his actions are small potatoes compared to Dodd’s. Dodd not only received preferential treatment for mortgages from failed Countrywide, but he’s ground zero in the biggest financial collapse in the history of the country. Once we found out he was the number one recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae, he was the front runner,” explained the Academy president.

The Award ceremony following the House of Representatives vote on the same bill is expected to receive little attention as Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts is expected to win in a landslide. “Of course the envelope is sealed,” grinned the Academy president, “But, the outcome isn’t likely to surprise anyone. Who can think of anyone whose further up to their neck than Barney Frank in the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that led to the financial meltdown? And who has anyone ever known that is more shameless, except former Pres. Clinton, and since he’s not in the running, Frank’s clearly the odds-on favorite.”

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