Confirmed: McCain Is Campaigning Illegally

Joe Sudbay at AmericaBlog has the details, which I’m reprinting in full because Sudbay really ties the whole analysis of McCain’s FEC violations and illegal campaigning together well:

John McCain, who raised a paltry $11 million in February, has been scamming the campaign finance system. The McCain campaign’s February FEC report is the here. He is currently in public finance system, which has a spending limit. The way the Associated Press tallied McCain’s expenditures, he’s busted the spending limit, which is a violation of the law:

McCain has now spent $58.4 million in his primary bid, surpassing the $50 million limit he would have faced if he participated in the public financing system he had been certified to join. McCain has decided not to accept the public matching funds, but the FEC wants him to assure regulators that he did not use the promise of public money as collateral for a $4 million loan.

McCain and his lawyers said the loan was secured with other collateral, thus freeing him to spend as much money as he wishes on his primary campaign. The Democratic National Committee has filed a complaint with the FEC arguing McCain cannot withdraw from the public finance system without FEC approval.

Also, McCain used his participation in the public finance system to secure his placement on the ballots in key states like Ohio. Here’s the DNC’s complaint.

Now, AP seems to think McCain is out of the system, but that’s a decision for the FEC, not John McCain or AP. And, the FEC already told McCain that he cannot withdraw from the system as the Washington Post reported last month:

The nation’s top federal election official told Sen. John McCain yesterday that he cannot immediately withdraw from the presidential public financing system as he had requested, a decision that threatens to dramatically restrict his spending until the general election campaign begins in the fall.

It’s serious — and, as the Post noted, it’s criminal:

Knowingly violating the spending limit is a criminal offense that could put McCain at risk of stiff fines and up to five years in prison.

Will the press acknowledge that the supposed ethical Republican is in fact breaking the law every day he campaigns? With every flight, with every speech, with every campaign ad aired, John McCain is illegally campaigning. He will continue to campaign illegally between now and the Republican National Convention and, in most likelihood, the media will never call him out for it.

This is just one crystal clear example of how John McCain is going to exist in a rosy media climate where nothing he says or does is given the same level of scrutiny as if a Democrat had done it. The recent evidence that McCain doesn’t know the difference between Sunni or Shia or that he wrongly thinks that Iran is helping Al Qaeda is another prime example, as is his not knowing what the “’67 border” of Israel is. He has revealed dangerous holes in his knowledge of the world that belie his reputation as a Serious Foreign Policy Expert who knows basic truths about how the world works. All of this adds up to give a clear indication of what sort of treatment McCain will get. This is going to be a fundamental hurdle for the Democratic nominee to overcome as I’m not convinced that the media will change their ways when it comes to John McCain.

3 thoughts on “Confirmed: McCain Is Campaigning Illegally

  1. At present, due to the Dems having a hissy-fit in Congress, there are only 2 out of 6 sitting members of the Federal Election Committee. Since any Official Commission Action requires four votes, that makes it highly unlikely that any “FEC approval” is possible for any candidate to withdraw from the public finance system. So your main argument does not hold water.

    Also Iran is helping Al Qaeda with attacks in Iraq, as many as half of coalition attacks over the past year can be tied to EFP’s or insurgents trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (who are somewhat bipartisan in their support of Sunni or Shiite insurgents). We just don’t admit it openly, because of our ongoing attempt to make nice with the Iranians.


  2. Joe Lieberman rightly corrected John McCain when he said Iran is helping Al Qaeda. You disagree with good ol’ Joe Lieberman? Please. You’re admitting that you’re making your judgment based on an assessment of intelligence that does not publicly exist. Or, to be less kind, you’re making things up.

    With regard to the FEC, it’s Mitch McConnell who’s holding up the confirmations because he refuses to let the Democrats give them up or down votes. He wants them confirmed as a batch. He’s the roadblock, but in this case that roadblock is hurting John McCain, not the Democrats. Until the FEC says otherwise, McCain is campaigning illegally.


  3. My understanding is that McCain has filed paperwork with the FEC indicating that he is withdrawn from public financing. So he’s complied with the law. The matter of the FEC not having quorum is a separate issue outside of his direct control. Don’t see how he could be ‘knowingly violating the spending limit’ if he has complied with the law by informing the FEC that he has withdrawn.


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