The Last Laugh

"We can't interfere," the senators said.

Their decision was announced so clearly that it was as though DeConcini and McCain regarded it as unethical to consider requests that actually came from mere voters and homeowners.

It was hard to understand their reasoning. Why couldn't they interfere with a Florida corporation that was bent on creating more urban blight in the state they represented?

They had gone to bat for Keating for the precise reason that he did business in Arizona. If they went to bat for a powerful millionaire, why not do the same for the thousands of people who lived in the city?

Were there campaign donations to DeConcini and McCain from Collier representatives that could be traced back to the Collier corporation in their records?

No one wanted to believe that. The Senate Ethics Committee hearings had already embarrassed DeConcini and McCain enough.

But why else would they side with an out-of-state group against their own constituents?

The strangest reaction of all, however, came from Congressman Jon Kyl. The property was in Kyl's district.

Certainly Kyl, more than anyone, should have been aware of the potential ecological damage to his constituents of such a project.

But Kyl also sided with the Florida people.

Why?

"It would be an unacceptable gift to the citizens of Phoenix from the nation's taxpayers," Kyl said.

No one knew how to respond to that remark. The residents of the city were so dumbfounded by the enormity of the land swindle taking place before their eyes that they said nothing.

Only crusty old Barry Goldwater had something to say. As usual, it was blunt:

"It's the stupidest thing I've ever heard," Goldwater said.

There is a moral to this tale:

Never trust a congressman who loves telling tall tales. His last one might be real.

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