Charles H. Keating Jr., the infamous financier behind the biggest savings and loan disaster of the 1980s, died Tuesday. He was 90.
Keating ran the Phoenix-based American Continental Corp., in addition its subsidiary Lincoln Savings & Loan. Many of the depositors at Lincoln Savings & Loan, especially older savers and naive investors, were persuaded to cash in their federally insured deposits for $256 million worth of uninsured American Continental junk bonds. Keating was convicted in 1993 of swindling those customers and raiding the thrift. The failure of Lincoln Savings & Loan cost the government $3.4 billion.
It also tainted the political careers of the Keating Five — Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), John Glenn (D-Ohio), Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), Donald Riegle (D-Mich.), and Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) — all significant recipients of Keating's campaign largesse who lobbied to get federal regulators off his back as Lincoln and American Continental teetered toward insolvency.
Keating's convictions were later overturned, and he pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud in Phoenix. He served four-and-a-half years in prison. While Keating is best known for the savings and loan disaster, he garnered attention in other ways earlier in life; he was a college swimming champion at the University of Cincinnati and an anti-pornography activist. Read more at The New York Times. --Catherine Garcia
— azcentral (@azcentral) April 2, 2014
During the day, Marvin Hatchett is a security guard at Wilson Middle School in Pasadena, California, but once the bell rings, he becomes a music teacher, mentor, and champion of the arts.
The school does not have enough money for a music program, and since 1983, Hatchett has served as a one-man performing arts department, teaching students at Wilson everything from the drums to the violin. Many of the students can't afford to purchase their own instruments, and when he's able to secure funds, Hatchett uses the money to buy them for the kids. "Everything that involves drums, Marvin has taught me," student Dillon Akers told NBC Los Angeles. "If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be doing this right now."
Some of his former students have gone on to become professional musicians, and Hatchett gets excited when he sees natural talent. "That's what gets you to keep going, and that's what makes you say, 'I got to do it again,'" he said. Hatchett's role as a music teacher is strictly voluntary, and he receives nothing in return except the knowledge that he's making a difference in the lives of many students. "He has integrity and he has a humbleness that is just a rare quality," Principal Sarah Rudchenko said. Catherine Garcia
On Wednesday, the number of Republicans in Hawaii's 51-seat House of Representatives dropped from six to five, when former Minority Leader Beth Fukumoto quit the party and applied to become a Democrat. Her Republican colleagues removed her as House GOP leader in early February after Fukumoto, 33, spoke out against President Trump at the Women's March in Hawaii.
Fukumoto, a self-described political moderate of Japanese and Irish descent, said she was bothered during the election when she "saw members of my party marginalizing and condemning minorities, ethnic or otherwise, and making demeaning comments toward women," but the final straw was Trump's talk of a Muslim ban and starting a Muslim-American registry, which she called "one step away" from internment camps. "I wanted very badly to see the Republican Party denounce his comments, and that didn't happen," she told Reuters.
Fukumoto said that before leaving the GOP, she had polled her constituents in a middle-class section of central Oahu, and 76 percent of the people who responded to the questionnaire said they would support her regardless of party, with most of the rest opposing her switch. All 25 seats in the Hawaii Senate are held by Democrats, and the state's governor and entire U.S. congressional delegation are Democrats, too. So Fukumoto's defection, notes poll-cruncher Will Jordan, cost Hawaii's Republican Party 17 percent of their elected officials. Peter Weber
President Trump, bogged down in investigations about his campaign's possible ties to Russian intelligence, "is apparently desperate for literally any good news these days," Seth Meyers said on Wednesday's Late Night. So on Tuesday night, Trump brought up old Abraham Lincoln at a National Republican Congressional Committee fundraiser, sharing what he believed might be useful trivia. "Trump wants a super PAC to take out an ad to let people know Lincoln was a Republican," Meyers sighed, breaking out his Trump voice. "'In fact, make sure he's wearing one of our hats.' Also, this can only mean one thing: Trump just found out Lincoln was a Republican. Dude, the Republicans literally call it the 'Party of Lincoln.' Did you think they were talking about the car?"
But Trump could be focusing on actual good news, the confirmation hearings for his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, Meyers said. Instead, he's trying to swat down the Russia allegations and defend his unfounded claim about former President Barack Obama tapping his phones. With FBI Director James Comey publicly shooting down the Obama wiretapping claim, Republicans are urging Trump to apologize to his predecessor and move on. Meyers was skeptical: "It also doesn't hurt normal people to say 'I'm sorry,' but it might kill Trump. I don't even thinks his mouth can make those words."
He ran down the news about the investigation, including the new reports on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, news from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) — "You're supposed to be conducting the investigation, you don't go tell the guy you're investigating," Meyers reminded Nunes — and texting between a Russian election hacker and Trump confidante Roger Stone.
But Meyers returned to Trump's should-be happy place to close out. The Gorsuch hearing is the "one thing that kept Republicans from abandoning Trump," he said. Meyers played some of the hard-hitting small-talk from GOP senators at the hearing, then put it in context: "Republicans were probably so giddy during the hearings because they knew they were getting away with one of the greatest thefts in modern politics, the stealing of a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court from President Obama. And on top of that they got a conservative nominee who's shared very little about his actual views." He ended with a Lincoln joke. Watch below. Peter Weber
Energy Secretary Rick Perry isn't letting being in charge of the nation's nuclear weapons programs stand in the way of getting involved in a college's student government election.
Before he was the governor of Texas and a failed Dancing With the Stars contestant, Perry was a student at Texas A&M, where he was twice elected as yell leader. On Wednesday, he used his alumnus status to write an op-ed in The Houston Chronicle about the university's recent student body president election, which left him "deeply troubled." As Perry explains it, when he first read that junior Bobby Brooks was elected, he viewed it as a "testament to the Aggie character" that students elected an openly gay peer. That all changed when he discovered Brooks actually came in second, but was named president after the winner by 750 votes, Robert McIntosh, was disqualified on charges of voter intimidation and not providing a receipt for glow sticks used in a campaign video. This move "at best made a mockery of due process and transparency," Perry wrote. "At worst, the SGA allowed an election to be stolen outright."
As Perry tells it, McIntosh was cleared of the voter intimidation charges, but the Judicial Court upheld the glow sticks ruling, and Brooks is still the winner. This is too much of a coincidence for Perry to handle. "Now, Brooks' presidency is being treated as a victory for 'diversity,'" he wrote. "It is difficult to escape the perception that this quest for 'diversity' is the real reason the election outcome was overturned." Aggies need to ask themselves "how would they act and feel if the victim was different?" Perry continued. "What if McIntosh had been a minority student instead of a white male? What if Brooks had been the candidate disqualified? … We all know that the administration, the SGA, and student body would not have permitted such a thing to happen." He finally called on the election commissioner and chief justice to explain why they disqualified McIntosh over what he says are "anonymous complaints and flimsy technicalities."
What Perry forget to mention in his impassioned plea is that McIntosh's mother, Alison McIntosh, is a longtime Republican fundraiser, the Chronicle reports. Empower Texans, a conservative political organization, said her business, The McIntosh Company Inc., raised money for several presidential campaigns, including those of Donald Trump, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and John McCain. Perry, probably now very interested in getting back to work, has not commented on this connection. Catherine Garcia
The name may be going away, but the mood lighting is here to stay.
On Wednesday, three months after finishing a $2.6 billion acquisition of Virgin America, Alaska Airlines announced that the Virgin America brand will be dropped by 2019, MarketWatch reports. "While the Virgin America name is beloved to many, we concluded that to be successful on the West Coast, we had to do so under one name — for consistency and efficiency, and to allow us to continue to deliver low fares," Sangita Woerne, vice president of marketing for Alaska Airlines, said in a statement. The airline, which previously had said it would consider keeping both brands alive, also said it won't get rid of many of Virgin America's signature amenities, including enhanced in-flight entertainment and cabin lighting that changes color. Catherine Garcia
After working without a contract for almost a year, an estimated 17,000 AT&T technicians in California and Nevada went on strike Wednesday.
The workers are union members affiliated with the Communications Workers of America, District 9; they say AT&T is cutting their sick time and disability benefits, making them pay more for health care, and continually asking them to perform the duties of higher-paid employees, the Los Angeles Times reports; the technicians usually install and maintain the U-Verse television service but have been told to also work on the cables and hardware for landline phone services.
"We are hoping to reach an agreement settlement with the company," Sheila Bordeaux, a member of the CWA Local 9003 executive board, told the Times. "They are unilaterally and continually changing the job duties of our premise technicians to do a higher-wage job at a lower rate of pay." A spokesman for AT&T said the company is "union friendly" and "currently negotiating with the union in a good-faith effort to reach a fair labor agreement covering wireline employees" in California and Nevada. The strike does not affect the company's wireless division. Catherine Garcia
The FBI is reviewing information that counterintelligence investigators believe may show coordination between associates of President Trump and Russian operatives to potentially release information to hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign before the 2016 presidential election, U.S. officials told CNN Wednesday.
Agents are sifting through human intelligence, accounts of in-person meetings, and travel, business, and phone records, CNN reports, and the officials say this investigation is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he announced on Monday that the FBI is looking into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The officials stressed to CNN that while the information indicates possible coordination, it is not conclusive and the investigation is ongoing. Catherine Garcia