McCain Scandals

1. Keating Five: John McCain's most infamous scandal was being one of the "Keating Five" Senators who helped S&L profiteer Charles Keating.

On Oct. 8, 1989, The Arizona Republic revealed that McCain's wife and her father had invested $359,100 in a Keating shopping center in April 1986, a year before McCain met with the regulators.

The paper also reported that the McCains, sometimes accompanied by their daughter and baby-sitter, had made at least nine trips at Keating's expense, sometimes aboard the American Continental jet. Three of the trips were made during vacations to Keating's opulent Bahamas retreat at Cat Cay.

McCain also did not pay Keating for some of the trips until years after they were taken, after he learned that Keating was in trouble over Lincoln. Total cost: $13,433...

McCain also had to explain his trips with Keating and why he didn't pay Keating back right away.

On that score, McCain admitted he had fouled up. He said he should have reimbursed Keating immediately, not waited several years. His staff said it was an oversight, but it looked bad, McCain jetting around with Keating, then going to bat for him with the federal regulators.

"I was in a hell of a mess," McCain later would write...

Among the Keating Five, McCain took the most direct contributions from Keating. But the [ Senate Ethics Committee ] investigation found that he was the least culpable, along with Glenn. McCain attended the meetings but did nothing afterward to stop Lincoln's death spiral...

McCain owns up to his mistake this way:

"I was judged eventually, after three years, of using, quote, poor judgment, and I agree with that assessment."

2. Rick Renzi

Rep. Rick Renzi (AZ01) has been in the news for a land deal scandal since 2005, when he introduced a land swap bill in Congress that made his business partner and major campaign donor James Sandlin rich.

After the FBI investigation into Renzi was first reported in October 2006, McCain vouched for Renzi’s “integrity” in a robo-call to Arizona voters:

This is Senator John McCain. I’m calling to urge you to support my friend, Representative Rick Renzi for Congress. Rick has represented the first district of Arizona with tenacity, honesty and integrity beyond reproach.

McCain honored Renzi by putting him on the National Campaign Committee for his Presidential campaign and making him a co-chair of his Arizona Leadership Team.

In February 2008, Renzi was indicted on 35 counts of extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and other crimes, but McCain refused to remove him from his campaign committee, saying "it doesn't matter" because Renzi is presumed innocent (video).