Tuesday, April 22, 2008

John McCain breaks Campaign Financing Law

Will John McCain be forced to quit the race? What do you think? Laws are made to be broken right? What applies to you and me certainly does not apply to John McCain. Will the media bring up the issue? Certainly not. Why that would leave Ron Paul in the position to win the Republican nominee rather than the favorite son of the chosen ones.
By Matthew Mosk
Sen. John McCain has officially broken the limits imposed by the presidential public financing system, reports filed last night show.

McCain has now spent $58.4 million on his primary effort. Those who have committed to public financing can spend no more than $54 million on their primary bid.

So has McCain broken the law? The answer is far from simple.

It depends on whether he has, in fact, withdrawn from the public matching program. McCain was certified to enter the matching program last year when he was starved for cash. But once he started to win primaries, he decided to step back from it. On Feb. 6, after his Super Tuesday victories, he wrote to the FEC to announce he would withdraw from the program.

McCain's lawyers said that gave him freedom to spend as much as he wanted -- once he announced his intent to withdraw from the system, they say, he was released from the spending caps.

But Federal Election Commission Chairman David Mason wrote McCain's campaign last month to alert him that the commission had not yet granted his Feb. 6 request to withdraw, and that the commission would first need to vote on the matter. A snag: The FEC has four vacancies and therefore lacks a quorum to consider the matter.

There's little agreement on what the FEC would have done, had they been able to meet. In part, that's because McCain borrowed $4 million from a commercial bank, and promised to pay the money back through his fundraising efforts. If the campaign went badly, he told the bank, he would use future matching funds to help repay the loan. The rules say that candidates who use matching funds as collateral have to remain within the confines of the system. The Democratic National Committee filed a complaint to the FEC about McCain's actions, but without that quorum, evaluation of the complaint has been stalled.

Meanwhile, McCain's fundraising has roared ahead, now that he is the presumptive Republican nominee. His campaign announced yesterday that it repaid the $4 million loan last week, ahead of schedule.

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