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A GREAT campaign-blog ideaViews: 513
Jan 14, 2008 6:34 amA GREAT campaign-blog idea#

Danielle (Dani) Cutler
And I'm not being snarky because it's McCain-- this is seriously a great idea.


Private Reply to Danielle (Dani) Cutler

Jan 14, 2008 3:30 pmre: A GREAT campaign-blog idea#

5 Senators Struggle to Avoid Keating Inquiry Fallout

Published: November 22, 1989

LEAD: Five Senators entangled in a fast-growing savings and loan investigation are struggling to devise a public relations and legal strategy to distance themselves from political fallout - and from each other.

Five Senators entangled in a fast-growing savings and loan investigation are struggling to devise a public relations and legal strategy to distance themselves from political fallout - and from each other.

The Senators - Alan Cranston of California, Dennis DeConcini of Arizona, John Glenn of Ohio, Donald W. Riegle Jr. of Michigan, all Democrats, and John McCain, Republican of Arizona - are accused of intervening with banking regulators to protect a well-heeled campaign contributor, Charles H. Keating Jr. Political analysts and poll takers say that recent disclosures about the Keating Five, as they have been nicknamed on Capitol Hill, pose a political threat to the Senators, one that has grown particularly grave after last week's announcement of a formal investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee.

The Senators' efforts to deal with what even their closest supporters acknowledge is a political crisis are as different as the lawmakers themselves. All Seeking to Avoid Blame

Some are talking to the press; some refuse. A number have hired outside lawyers, while others see that as unnecessary, at least for now. All are trying to shift the blame to Federal regulators and to prominent figures in business.

Their strategies may have to be scrapped as more details emerge about their relationship with Mr. Keating, whose company, the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association of Irvine, Calif., collapsed earlier this year. The Lincoln bailout may cost taxpayers as much as $2 billion.

While the evidence of political damage from the Lincoln Savings debacle is still sketchy, statewide polls in Arizona have already shown a sharp drop in approval ratings for Senator DeConcini and Senator McCain.

In California, Michigan and Ohio, Republican organizers are not unhappy as Senators Cranston, Riegle and Glenn try to explain why they accepted such large campaign contributions from Mr. Keating and his associates. Call From the Opposition

Last week, the Republican state chairman in Michigan, E. Spencer Abraham, called on Mr. Riegle to consider removing himself as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. ''The ongoing revelations and conflicting testimony erode his influence in the Senate,'' Mr. Abraham said.

The Republican chairman in Ohio, Robert T. Bennett, said even though the Keating investigation may not yet have ''sunk in'' among the state's voters, it eventually will.

In California, the poll taker Mervin Field believes Mr. Cranston is ''in deep trouble'' since recent Congressional testimony by elderly Californians who blamed the Senator for the loss of their life savings in Keating-related investments.

''The fact that real, live people will testify that they're impoverished by the failure of a savings and loan which Cranston is linked to, is devastating,'' Mr. Field said. Perhaps the most important tactical decision faced by the five Senators is how much to say in public about the Keating investigation, and when to say it. At one end of the spectrum, Senator McCain has decided upon what his aides describe as a campaign of full disclosure. McCain Speaking Out

On Oct. 16, the Senator, whose reputation as a rising star in the Republican Party has been tarnished by the investigation, held a 90-minute news conference in Phoenix to answer questions about his efforts on behalf of Lincoln Savings.

''He's talked with all of the major newspapers, and he's spoken at some point with each of the television networks,'' said Scott Celley, a spokesman. ''The Senator is quite confident that the more people know about his role in this, the more comfortable they will be.''

For the other Senators, however, full disclosure carries the risk that, by responding to each new wave of allegations, they may provide news organizations and political opponents with a daily vehicle to keep the issue alive.

Senator Riegle has said relatively little about his relationship with Mr. Keating, refusing interview requests and ordering aides not to talk to reporters about the subject.

A Riegle aide who spoke to talk on condition he not be identified said the Senator thought it improper to discuss subjects under investigation by the ethics committee. And the Senator, the aide said, does not have time to address a barrage of reporters' questions. ''The No. 1 consideration is making sure the Senator can get his job done,'' the aide explained. Riegle Begins to Respond

But the strategy has threatened to backfire on Senator Riegle, who has been forced in recent days to ignore the no-comment rule and respond to news reports that have documented closer ties between the Senator and Mr. Keating than had previously been known.

The Senators have also faced a delicate issue of whether to bring in outside lawyers to represent them in investigation now being conducted by the ethics committee and the Justice Department, which has convened a grand jury in Los Angeles to review criminal allegations against Mr. Keating.

Senate aides who asked not to be identified said that some of the five lawmakers had been reluctant to bring in private counsel, fearing that a decision to hire a private legal team could create the appearance of crisis.

Yet in recent weeks Mr. McCain, Mr. Glenn and Mr. Cranston decided to take the gamble and retained high-powered lawyers to deal with the Keating affair. Glenn Hires Ex-U.S. Attorney

Senator Glenn has hired Charles F. C. Ruff, a former United States Attorney in Washington and Watergate prosecutor, to oversee Mr. Glenn's reply to a recent letter from the Senate ethics committee about his relationship with Mr. Keating. ''That's what he's there for - just to put together that response,'' Rebecca Bell, a Glenn spokeswoman, said of Mr. Ruff.

Even as Mr. Ruff maps out a legal strategy for the Senator, Ms. Bell and her counterparts elsewhere on Capitol Hill are conducting their own campaign in the trenches of public relations.

For Ms. Bell, formerly of NBC News, that has meant steering reporters to documentary evidence that tends to mitigate Senator Glenn's role in the Keating affair. The evidence is contained in notes of an April 1987 meeting at which Senator Glenn and his four colleagues discussed Lincoln Savings with a group of Federal regulators.

The notes, prepared by one of the regulators, show that Senator Glenn may have been far more cautious than the other Senators in defending Lincoln Savings, and that at one point he told the regulators: ''I'm not trying to get anyone off. If there's wrongdoing, I'm on your side.''

In the press offices of the four other senators, aides have been busy photocopying and distributing copies of a 1985 letter written on Mr. Keating's behalf by Alan Greenspan, an economist who is now the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Mr. Greenspan's letter described the management of Lincoln Savings as ''seasoned and expert'' with a ''record of outstanding success.''

In an interview, Bob Maynes, a spokesman for Senator DeConcini, said that Mr. Greenspan's assurances were ''significant in convincing Dennis'' that Lincoln deserved assistance. Within hours of his conversation with a reporter last Thursday, Mr. Maynes made sure that a copy of the Greenspan letter was in the reporter's hands. ''We're trying to get this information out,'' he said.


Private Reply to L J

Jan 14, 2008 5:52 pmre: re: A GREAT campaign-blog idea#

Danielle (Dani) Cutler
Oh I remember this, yes I do. I was still in HS then, and only paid mild attention. But it was the hot news item for months then, so I definitely knew what was going on.

Like I said, showing the blog was merely showing the idea, not endorsing him at all. ;-)


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