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Blog of Mass Destruction

Lawbreaking, McCain Style

By The Reverend Published: February 25, 2008


The Democratic Party filed a complaint today against John McCain for ignoring FEC law....

In order to receive matching funds, John McCain signed a binding agreement with the FEC to accept spending limits and to abide by the conditions of receiving those funds. The FEC makes clear that any request to withdraw from the agreement must be granted by the FEC. In other words, McCain can't just unilaterally withdraw. FEC Chairman David Mason made this clear in a letter to McCain advising him that the law requires the FEC to approve his request to withdraw from his contract.

According to past Commission rulings, the McCain campaign would not be allowed to withdraw from matching funds because it has already violated a key condition for being let out of the program - pledging matching funds as collateral for a private loan. McCain obtained a $4 million line of credit -- drew $2,971,697 from it - and documents make clear that the promise of public financing was used to secure his loan. Link

From the FEC Chair's letter to McCain....

Citing the loan agreement, Mason wrote: "We note that in your letter, you state that neither you nor your (presidential campaign) committee has pledged the certification of matching payment funds as security for private financing. In preparation for commission consideration of your request upon establishment of a quorum, we invite you to expand on the rationale for that conclusion." Link

Democratic Party Chief, Howard Dean commented on this yesterday.....

"The crucial issue here is John McCain's integrity. John McCain poses as a reformer but seems to think reforms apply to everyone but him," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. "He used taxpayer money to guarantee a loan so he could raise money from lobbyists and special interests - it's the height of hypocrisy. This is just the latest example of his do as I say, not as I do double standard, and it's unlikely to be the last. McCain financially benefited from this legally binding contract - he got free ballot access, saving him millions of dollars, and he secured a $4 million line of credit to keep his campaign afloat by using public financing as collateral. He should follow the law." Link

McCain campaign responds...

"Howard Dean's hypocrisy is breathtaking given that in 2003 he withdrew from the matching funds system in exactly the same way that John McCain is doing today," Rogers said in a written statement. Link

But that's a lie.....

The McCain campaign has incorrectly stated that McCain is doing what Dean did when he withdrew from public financing in his presidential bid, but they have the facts wrong. Dean did not use the promise of matching funds as collateral for a loan. As required, Dean obtained permission from the Commission to withdraw from matching funds before any funds were disbursed. Also, Dean spent resources to get his name on the ballot after withdrawing, unlike McCain who had free ballot access in some states because he pledged to accept matching funds. Link

Just the other day I pointed out that McCain campaign officials, and McCain himself, had stated details about the Vicki Iseman/lobbyist story that were completely false. With this FEC issue, the McCain campaign continues the practice of lying. Lying in their attempt to direct the spotlight away from what looks like a clear cut violation of FEC law by McCain.

Note to potential commenters:

This has nothing to do with anything Barack Obama said he would do, or is doing. This also has nothing to do with what Howard Dean did or did not do 5 years ago. This story is only about Senator McCain and his respect, or lack thereof, for American election law.

I realize that the Republican Party, and conservatives in general, believe that if Republicans or conservatives are violating law it's always for a good reason and therefore is justifiable and not to be punished (Libby). The American people, on the other hand, do not accept that kind of moral relativist thinking.



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