McCain and Keating: 'Till death do us part'

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In 1986 John McCain wrote a political note — on official House of Representatives stationary — apologizing to Charles H. Keating Jr. for his campaign having listed his good friend and supporter as part of McCain’s Senate campaign finance committee.

Keating responded with a handwritten note — addressed to “senator,” seven months before McCain won his Senate seat — telling him not to sweat it, “I’m yours till death do us part.”

The back-and-forth came when McCain was still in the House but seeking a Senate seat, and the year before he and a handful of other senators met with banking regulators on behalf of Keating.

McCain wrote: “As you know, I am deeply appreciative of your friendship and support over the years, and I would not want to do anything which would offend you. Please accept my apology, and be assured that there will be no future repetition of this kind.”

Six days later Keating sent a handwritten note back assuring McCain he has done, and can do, no wrong.

“Don’t be silly. You can call me anything, write anything or do anything. I’m yours till death do us part.”

It’s another window into the close ties between the two men, which continue to dog McCain in his current campaign.

McCain has acknowledged extensive ties to Keating, who through fundraisers helped funnel $166,000 in campaign contributions to McCain for his 1982 and 1984 House races and his 1986 Senate race. McCain and his family also vacationed with the Keatings, and later had to reimburse Keating for the flights, acknowledging he violated House rules by not disclosing them.

He was rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee for the appearance of conflict of interest for attending the meetings with bank regulators.

 

Stephen Dinan, national political correspondent, The Washington Times

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