But Keating was more than a constituent to McCain--he was a longtime friend and associate. McCain met Keating in 1981 at a Navy League dinner in Arizona where McCain was the speaker. Keating was a former naval aviator himself, and the two men became friends. Keating raised money for McCain's two congressional campaigns in 1982 and 1984, and for McCain's 1986 Senate bid. By 1987, McCain campaigns had received $112,000 from Keating, his relatives, and his employees--the most received by any of the Keating Five. (Keating raised a total of $300,000 for the five senators.)
After McCain's election to the House in 1982, he and his family made at least nine trips at Keating's expense, three of which were to Keating's Bahamas retreat. McCain did not disclose the trips (as he was required to under House rules) until the scandal broke in 1989. At that point, he paid Keating $13,433 for the flights.
And in April 1986, one year before the meeting with the regulators, McCain's wife, Cindy, and her father invested $359,100 in a Keating strip mall.
The above may be one reason that Cindy McCain does not want her tax returns made public. Her privilege, but not overly sage in a national Presidential contest.
Given the fact that Keating was a constituent, friend and contributor to McCain, and at the same time that the Senate did not uncover anything more blameworthy than "poor judgment on McCain's part, I would not recommend that the Obama campaign do more than indicate that there was more to McCain's Keating relationship than the Keating Five incident.
To amplify this point, The Center for Public integrity offers two relevant postscripts:
McCain got more than just campaign money from Keating. McCain, his family, and their babysitter flew on Keating-owned or -chartered jets nine times, including three trips to Cat Cay, Keating’s vacation estate in the Bahamas. And in 1986, Keating cut Cindy McCain and her father into Fountain Square Shopping Center, a strip mall that American Continental Corporation built and managed, for a $359,000 investment.
n a postscript to the scandal, McCain finally contributed $112,000 — the amount of money he’d gotten from Keating-related interests — to the U.S. Treasury. (Keating would otherwise rank as his No. 1 career patron.) McCain’s wife and father-in-law, however, held on to their stake in the Fountain Square Shopping Center. In fact, they held on to it long after American Continental Corporation went bankrupt. Cindy McCain, her father, and the remaining owners sold the mall two years ago for $15 million, reaping a profit that McCain has reported as between $100,000 and $1 million.
We are talking about the reaping of profit from a fuzzy but documentable association with Keating.
The Keating Five is not a fruitful way to "get McCain". But the overall Keating association and the handling of benefits, including Cindy McCain's benefits, is highly relevant.