10/24/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Hammering Home the Keating Five Message

I went on Fox News on Monday to discuss the financial meltdown. After taking a sober look at the bipartisan nature of Wall Street deregulation, I forced the discussion to focus on John McCain's Keating Five past. It was actually a pretty incredible debate. Both the Fox News anchor and the GOP spokesman basically freaked out and offered up the "nothing to see here, move along" deflection. They want to hide the undebatable fact that McCain was rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee for intimidating regulators on behalf of one of his biggest campaign donors, Charles Keating.

Just for historical reference, here is the CBS News on 3/23/08:

In his early days as a freshman senator, McCain was known for accepting contributions from Charles Keating Jr., flying to the banker's home in the Bahamas on company planes and taking up Keating's cause with U.S. financial regulators as they investigated him...Keating and his associates raised $1.3 million combined for the campaigns and political causes of all five. McCain's campaigns received $112,000. The investigation ended in early 1991 with a rebuke that McCain 'exercised poor judgment in intervening with the regulators.'

Now it's true, the Ethics committee didn't go farther than that. But to try to deny that McCain's formative economic experience was intimidating banking regulators -- and that he was rebuked for doing that -- is trying to perpetrate a fraud on the American people.

Judging by the reaction of both the Fox News anchor and the GOP spokesperson, the conservative Establishment sees the Keating Five issue as a major weak point, which is one of the reasons I hammered it home (the other being that McCain's behavior during the S&L crisis is very important considering the current crisis is very similar). As you can see, I didn't relent on making sure that the facts got out in this interview, and I've been pounding away at the issue everywhere I can I hope every branch of the progressive movement similarly forces the issue into the presidential debate.