William K. Black, who wrote the cover story of our November/December issue, (Mis)Understanding a Banking Industry in Transition, was interviewed for a Fox News special on John McCain’s role in the “Keating Five” scandal, which was the major political fallout of the savings & loan scandal. The special will air at 8pm on Tuesday, August 19th (but check your local listings to see exactly when it will air.) He was also interviewed for a CNN special on the same topic.
McCain’s central (negative) role in that scandal has been underreported in this year’s presidential election, so this coverage by Fox and CNN is most welcome, especially if Bill Black can provide his perspectives. As we mentioned on the D&S blog in February, Bill played a central (positive) role in that scandal:
Black was deputy director of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation when McCain, along with the rest of the “Keating Five” (Sens. Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, John Glenn, and Don Riegle) tried to influence regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, chairman of the then-failing Lincoln Savings & Loan. Black was one of the regulators the senators tried to influence; Edwin J. Gray, chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, was another. Keating had donated to all the senators’ campaigns, and McCain’s wife, Cindy, whom the Times describes as “the heiress to a beer fortune” in Arizona, had “joined Mr. Keating in investing in an Arizona shopping mall.”
The collapse of the Lincoln S&L cost taxpayers approximately $3.4 billion; the S&L crisis as a whole cost taxpayers more than $124 billion, according to the General Accounting Office.
(Side note: the scandal did not end the careers of any of the Keating Five; Cranston, DeConcini, and Riegle all served out their terms; Glenn and McCain both stood for re-election and won. Perversely, after his senate term ended, DeConcini was appointed by President Clinton to the the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, aka “Freddie Mac”.)
The Fox special will apparently be a one-hour documentary on McCain that “looks at the character and conduct of the candidate, both pro and con”; a subsequent one-hour Fox News documentary on Obama will examine “the tragedies of his early years, growing up with his grandparents and going to college, his job as a community organizer and later as a Harvard Law School student and Illinois legislator,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.