Clipped From The Newark Advocate
Glenn feels he's vindicated By RANDY WYNN Advocate Washington Bureau The Senate Ethics Committee and Ohio Sen. John Glenn accused one another Wednesday of poor judgment Concluding its 16-month investigation of Glenn's dealings with . campaign contributor Charles Keating, the . committee pronounced Glenn not guilty of violating any law or Senate regulation But the panel added that the Ohio Democrat "exercised poor judgment" in arranging a 1988 luncheon for Keating with then-House Speaker James Wright after he had been informed that criminal charges against Keating and his savings and loan were possible. An angry Glenn told reporters he considers himself "completely vindicated." "How can I feel anything but?" he asked. ''There's no censure, there's no nothing out of It They've investigated everything there is to investigate and the worst thing they could come up with was that I went to a luncheon, where I merely acted as host and I picked up the tab ... How weak can it be?" While finding probable Senate rule violations by Sen. Alan Cranston, D-Cal., the panel concluded no disciplinary action is warranted against Glenn or the other members of the Keating Five Sens. Donald Riegle, D-Mich., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz. The committee said all the senators exercised poor judgment and that Riegle and DeConcini's conduct "gave the appearance of being improper." ,,, Glenn, however, insisted that his . dealings with Keating were "proper and ethical in every respect," and went on to accuse the bipartisan ethics committee of political , "horse-trading." He refused to elaborate except to say he was referring to many reports that Democrats on the panel refused to , exonerate him and McCain, the only Republican under scrutiny, in order to avoid making the Keating affair a totally Democratic scandal. With the final verdict on Glenn's involvement with Keating likely to . be written by Ohio voters next year, Ohio Republicans were quick Wednesday to seize on the committee's criticism of the senator rather than its decision not to punish him. "Above all, this is a matter of judgment," declared . Ohio GOP chairman Robert Bennett "John Glenn misjudged Charles Keating. He also misjudged the tolerance of Ohio's taxpayers, who are left to. foot the bill of nearly $2 billion., Glenn helped Keating, while Keating helped himself to a big taxpayer-financed bailout of his sinking S and L." Ohio GOP executive director Brian Berry predicted that Glenn's Keating ties will "have a long political life." "Now it leaves the Senate Mutual Protection Society and comes back into Ohio politics," he said. After four weeks of deliberations that followed public hearings spanning two months, the ethics committee concluded that the senators' participation in two April 1987 meetings with federal regulators at Keating's request was not in itself improper. "Each of the senators had information that reasonably caused concern about the fairness of the Federal Home Loan Bank's examination of Lincoln Savings and Loan," the committee reported Wednesday. Glenn's involvement in the now-infamous meetings was made public in the fall of 1987 by a thrift industry trade publication, but drew httle attention until former Federal Home Loan Bank Board chairman Edwin Gray complained about senatorial interference. In July 1989 the Ohio Republican Party asked the ethics committee to investigate Glenn's role, and in September filed a formal complaint A month later, Common Cause filed a complaint against all five senators, contending the meetings constituted special treatment for a campaign contributor. The ethics committee hired a special counsel to investigate the Keating Five in November 1989 and a month later expanded the probe to a formal inquiry. Glenn contended the committee's investigation of his conduct was unwarranted, and became angry when the probe dragged on through last year.