The Corner

“So Much for Nonpartisanship”

It may be worth noting that although his kid brother is a well-known conservative, Bob Bennett is a Democrat. Yet his clients have ranged from President Clinton to Cap Weinberger. In our BTC interview, posted earlier this week, we discussed the Keating Five case–Bennett was a special counsel to the investigation. Here’s what he says in his new book about McCain:

At the completion of my investigation, I filed my report with the committee. I recommended that no further action be taken against Senators McCain and Glenn principally because once they learned that there was a criminal referral, they stopped aggressively doing Keating’s bidding with the regulators. However, I also recommended that the committee proceed with ethics charges against Senators Cranston, DeConcini, and Reigle and hold a hearing to look into their conduct. I believed that the evidence showed clearly that these three had violated Senate Rules and should be held accountable. My recommendation that the only Republican in the group, John McCain, be exonerated caused a big political problem, but my recommendations were based on evidence and not politics. Perhaps those who knew me to be a Democrat thought I would act differently, but they did not know me very well. …

This was perhaps the first time the recommendation of a special counsel not to charge a senator was rejected. This was pure politics as the Democrats on the committee did not want to cut McCain loose so that only Democrats would remain in the proceedings. If Senator McCain was not going to be cut loose, in retaliation the Republicans were going to keep Senator Glenn in the proceedings. McCain was the victim of politics, and poor Glenn, he was held captive to the decision on McCain. So much for nonpartisanship.

(These lines are taken from the pre-publication galley.) 

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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