DNC - McCain Myth Buster: John McCain and Campaign Finance Laws

Washington, DC--John McCain claims he is following campaign finance laws. But the reality is when it's inconvenient to his campaign, Senator McCain thinks the rules don't apply to him--even going as far as breaking the law. Senator McCain is violating campaign laws by using a corporate jet for campaign events but not reimbursing the corporation for the cost of the trips. And he is skirting FEC regulations for the primary by unilaterally withdrawing from the FEC's matching funds program that financially benefited his campaign--a move FEC Chair David Mason raised questions about months ago. [johnmccain.com, accessed 6/19/08; Wall Street Journal, 6/18/08]

That's not the kind of transparency the American people are looking for after seven years of a president with utter disregard for the law.

Wall Street Journal: McCain Campaign Fails to Reimburse For Up To Four Campaign Flights. "She used the jet on several trips last year that included campaign-related activity but never got campaign reimbursement, according to flight-tracking records and campaign-finance reports verified by the McCain campaign. At the New York fund-raiser, she spoke on stage, warming up the audience for her husband. If the campaign had paid for Mrs. McCain's trip to New York and three others that appear to have included some campaign work, it would likely have cost a total of about $15,000, the equivalent of first-class fare for the trips combined." [Wall Street Journal, 6/18/08: http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB121374837867082729-lMyQjAxMDI4MTEzNzcxNDc4Wj.html ]

Republican Expert: McCain Should Have Paid for the Flights. "Jan Baran, a Republican campaign lawyer, said the campaign should have paid. 'I don't know why they want to fight it,' he said. 'The chutzpah is not that they're not paying for this trip, it's that they're using a corporate airplane at a highly discounted rate.'" [Wall Street Journal, 6/18/08: http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB121374837867082729-lMyQjAxMDI4MTEzNzcxNDc4Wj.html ]

New York Times: McCain Used Unresolved Loophole in His Own Reform Law to Get Discounted Flights. "Mr. McCain's campaign paid a total of $241,149 for the use of that plane from last August through February, records show. That amount is approximately the cost of chartering a similar jet for a month or two, according to industry estimates. The senator was able to fly so inexpensively because the law specifically exempts aircraft owned by a candidate or his family or by a privately held company they control. The Federal Election Commission adopted rules in December to close the loophole -- rules that would have required substantial payments by candidates using family-owned planes -- but the agency soon lost the requisite number of commissioners needed to complete the rule making. Because that exemption remains, Mr. McCain's campaign was able to use his wife's corporate plane like a charter jet while paying first-class rates, several campaign finance experts said. Several of those experts, however, added that his campaign's actions, while keeping with the letter of law, did not reflect its spirit." [New York Times, 4/27/08: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/us/politics/27plane.html?_r=1&oref=slogin]

FEC Did Not Grant McCain Permission To Withdraw From Public Financing System in the Primary. According to the Washington Post, "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… Mason notified McCain that the commission had not granted his Feb. 6 request to withdraw from the presidential public financing system." [Washington Post, 2/22/08]

FEC Raised Questions About A Loan the McCain Received. According to the Associated Press, "The government's top campaign finance regulator says John McCain can't drop out of the primary election's public financing system until he answers questions about a loan he obtained to kickstart his once faltering presidential campaign… Federal Election Commission Chairman David Mason, in a letter to McCain this week, said the all-but-certain Republican nominee needs to assure the commission that he did not use the promise of public money to help secure a $4 million line of credit he obtained in November." [AP/MSNBC, 2/21/08]