I write about John McCain's shady dealings with the felonious financier Charlie Keating in this section of Rolling Stone's current cover story -- which includes Charlie Keating's bald declaration that he was, indeed, buying favors from the politicians whose war chests he larded.
But there's quite a bit more about their relationship that comes from McCain himself, in his memoir Worth the Fighting For.
McCain's account is replete with details of unrepentant entanglements and top-dollar favors that would make Jack Abramoff blush.
McCain and Keating were much more than "social friends" as McCain's lawyer said on a conference call today. They were political business partners.
Charlie Keating, his family and associates donated over $100,000 for my first campaign, and for each of the two that followed. That was a hell of a lot of money in those days.... Supporters like Charlie were not easy to come by for a first-time candidate, and I made damn sure that he knew how much I appreciated his support.
More important, I became friends with Charlie, his family, and many of the top executives and employees of his company. [pp. 59]
He was as close to the archetype of the high-flying eighties chief executive as anyone I had encountered, and he was a hell of a lot of fun to be around.
On several occasions, he invited Cindy and me to his beautiful vacation retreat at Cat Cay in the Bahamas, flying us there, with our infant daughter, Meghan, and her nanny, on his private jet....
He entertained us lavishly, as was his style. We would all crowd on his yacht, off for a day of swimming and snorkeling, and then return for another extravagant party with the best wine, food, and entertainment available...
I would be lying if I were to deny... just how eagerly I awaited invitations to Charlie Keating's Shangri-la. [pp. 60]