Welcome to "Understanding the Keating Five," the only comprehensive website on the infamous Keating Five scandal. What started as a meeting between a group of U.S. senators and the head of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board ended with a lengthy and nationally-televised hearing of the Senate Ethics Committee. The hearings investigated the relationship between savings & loan (S&L) tycoon Charles Keating and five senators. They raise important issues about ethics, representation, and democracy. Did some (or all) of the senators have good reasons for getting involved in this matter? Did some (or all) of these senators act improperly? What are the ethical limits of “constituent service?” How is the analysis of these issues affected by the existence of campaign contributions?
“Understanding the Keating Five” provides a wealth of information about the S&L collapse and the stories of specific actors in the case. To start, it is recommended that the reader look first to the “Overall Story” and “70 Minutes: A First Look into the Hearings” to get a sense of sequencing and tone. From there, the site provides individual background stories, timelines, and selected excerpts of testimony from the hearings (in both written and video form) for each of the senators and other major actors. Some facts are agreed upon by all parties in the case, including the remarkably detailed minutes of the meeting with the San Francisco regulators, while others are hotly contested. It is up to you to weigh the evidence after comparing and contrasting the various testimonies.
The “Related Issues” section provides background reading on theories of representation, the S&L industry's collapse, and the appropriate limits of constituent service. The “Enduring Issues” section highlights broader issues from this case that are still relevant today.