In 1990-91, McCain was one of five senators investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee for attempting to influence federal regulators inquiring into the Lincoln Savings and Loan, owned by McCain's friend and campaign contributor Charles Keating. McCain attended meetings with other senators and federal regulators to inquire about the investigation into Lincoln Savings and Loan. The Senate Ethics Committee ruled that McCain had "exercised poor judgment." 
McCain Exercised Influence On Behalf Of Friend, Campaign Contributor.
McCain Accepted $124,000 from Keating and his Associates in the 1980s.
Charles Keating and his associates contributed $124,000 to McCain's House and Senate campaigns in the 1980's. Of the five members of the "Keating Five," McCain was closest personally to Keating. 
McCain Accepted Thousands In Free Trips From Charles Keating; Failed To Disclose Travel In Official Filings.
Between 1984 and 1986, McCain failed to disclose over $15,000 worth of trips and gifts from junk bond king Charles Keating on his financial disclosure forms, and only reimbursed Keating after the scandal broke. McCain accepted $15,433 in trips from Keating and his associates, including vacations to Keating's resort in the Bahamas for McCain and his family. McCain made at least 9 trips flying either on Keating's jet or a jet owned by Resorts International. McCain originally reimbursed Keating only $2,000 for the trips, and he failed to reimburse the American Continental Corporation for the remaining $13,433 until 1989 -- immediately after the government seized control of Keating's Lincoln Savings & Loan. In fact, McCain originally did not disclose the flights on his House gift and expense filings. McCain did not reimburse Keating for the cost of food and lodging associated with the trips, as congressional rules did not require doing so. 
McCain Was "Personally Closest" to Keating, Accepted Vacations From The S&L Operator.
Roll Call wrote: "Of the Keating Five, McCain was closest personally to the high roller and accepted travel and vacation accommodations from Keating and failed to reimburse the financier promptly for such gifts." 
McCain Claimed He "Intended" To Reimburse Keating For Trips, But Didn't Until Years Later.
From 1984 through 1986, McCain accepted $15,433 in trips from Keating, including vacations to Keating's resort in the Bahamas for McCain and his family. McCain originally reimbursed Keating only $2,000 for the trips. McCain failed to reimburse ACC for the remaining $13,433 until 1989 -- immediately after the government seized Keating's Lincoln Savings & Loan. In fact, McCain originally did not disclose the flights on his House gift and expense filings. McCain maintained that it was an oversight: "It was never my intent to accept this travel as a gift but rather always to fully reimburse for it." 
American Continental Corporation (ACC) Attorney Contends That McCain Never "Intended" To Reimburse ACC For His Family's Travel.
Former ACC attorney David Stevens sent a letter to the Senate Ethics Committee reiterating his charge that McCain paid ACC back only for his own flights and not for those of his family members. According to Stevens, McCain did not reimburse the other costs until Lincoln was seized by the government in April 1989: "No effort was ever made to reimburse for flights of [McCain] family members until after the onslaught of adverse publicity following the American Continental Corp. bankruptcy. Senator McCain's public explanations have not pointed these facts out. These facts seem to support the conclusion that the intent of the senator was always to reimburse for the costs associated with flights on corporate jets that he took personally. I never saw any evidence that he originally intended to reimburse for the cost of his wife and baby sitter...." 
- ^ [Roll Call, 1/20/92; AP, 3/2/91; San Francisco Chronicle, 12/3/90; New York Times, 2/28/91]
- ^ [Roll Call, 1/20/92; AP, 3/2/91]
- ^ [New York Times, 2/28/91; San Francisco Chronicle, 12/3/90; Arizona Republic, 10/8/89; 10/17/89]
- ^ [Roll Call, 1/20/92]
- ^ [New York Times, 2/28/91; San Francisco Chronicle, 12/3/90]
- ^ [San Francisco Chronicle, 12/3/90; Roll Call, 1/7/91]