The first of "the Keating Five" senators, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., went before the Senate Ethics Committee yesterday to be cross-examined by committee members and counsel. It was not a pretty spectacle, and it suggests much uglier business next week.
Senator McCain and Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, who also testified yesterday, appear to be the least culpable of the five senators accused of improperly influencing government regulators on behalf of financier Charles Keating. Robert S. Bennett, the Ethics Committee counsel, has recommended that the committee drop charges against the two.
Yet consider one exchange yesterday between Senator McCain and Ethics Committee Chairman Howell Heflin, D-Ala. Yes, Senator McCain admitted, he and his family and a baby-sitter took numerous costly vacations to the Bahamas and elsewhere at Mr. Keating's expense. No, he didn't reimburse Mr. Keating until later, when the Keating affair became a public scandal. Yes, he only paid $550 reimbursement for one trip that actually cost $3,512.