Arizona Sen. Dennis DeConcini wrote an aide in 1986 asking what "we can do to bring heat" on a federal banking regulator who was opposed by savings and loan owner Charles H. Keating Jr., the Senate Ethics Committee was told Monday.
The senator's memo to his staff aide, Laurie A. Sedlmayr, was written in December 1986, after Keating had made clear his opposition to top bank regulator Edwin Gray, who wanted Keating's thrift to adhere to investment limits.Committee special counsel Robert S. Bennett cited the memo in questioning Sedlmayr as the panel held its fifth day of hearings into allegations DeConcini and four other senators improperly intervened with regulators on behalf of Keating, a financial contributor.
Sedlmayr said she was aware Keating wanted Gray out of office. DeConcini wrote her a memo on Dec. 11, 1986, citing press accounts of potential financial and ethical problems facing Gray and asking, "Anything we can do to bring heat?"
She said she responded five days later saying it was "probably unnecessary" for him to take action and suggesting the senator "stay out of this." Sedlmayr, under questioning by Bennett, said Keating was more aggressive than many other businessmen she dealt with.
"I found him to be something of a zealot, and I wasn't comfortable with that," she said.
Keating, who owned the now defunct Lincoln Savings and Loan, and his associates contributed $1.3 million to the senators' campaigns or favored causes.