McCain in financial trouble: Dems to blame?

Washington Post article here (first two paragraphs).

Elaboration and spin here.

And it’s his own Act of which he’s falling foul!

So, conspiracy or cockup? Or, is this why Huckabee’s still in the game?

This is Bush’s fault:
Bush Picks Controversial Nominees for FEC
The president needs to pick some acceptable nominees soon.

The old straight-shooter looks kind of crooked to me.

Bush may be blamed for the first issue, but not the second:

While what McCain is trying to do is probably legal - I would presume he has pretty good lawyers - it certainly seems to violate the spirit of regulations he helped create.

Certainly does seem to explain why he was trying to pressure Obama.

That, is, pressure him now rather than later.

How can it require a quorum to get out, but not to get in?

That’s not a [very]serious question, but this is: Is there any indication that a reasonably competent John McCain should have known that, absent a quorum, he was entering a one-direction process?

As one of, if not the, leading figure in the senate on the subject of campaign finance reform, one would hope he knew the ins and outs of the system.

Or, at least, one might presume him competent enough to ask if there were any such implications to his actions. He is running for fairly high office, after all. One should like to be assured of that.

Perhaps not quite so well as he and his lawyers thought.

From The New Republic:

So, bottom line, the Dems aren’t to blame. But they are piling on, just as they should.

Silly Voyager! The Dems are always to blame! Don’t you follow Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter?

New thread title: How Will McCain Screwing Himself Regarding Campaign Finance Hurt The Democrats In 2008?


More important than the issue of the loan is the fact that McCain used his participation in the public financing program to gain **automatic access to ballots ** in several states. If he hadn’t agreed to take public financing it would have cost his campaign several million dollars to gain signatures and get his name on the ballot normally.

So this isn’t even a case of “Well he never really took any public money, so no harm, no foul.” He joined the program, agreed to the spending caps, and accepted free ballot access as a benefit. Now that he’s hitting the spending cap he wants out again. Sleazy, sleazy, sleazy.

Please. I have a weak stomach! And much as I know it is a bit bigoted, I don’t much care for female impersonators.

And Coulter is bad also.

Damn you! I am now visualizing Rush as Divine.

… he’d do a decent job, actually.

Well, he’s been spewing it for years. It would do him good to eat a little.

I don’t get why this hasn’t gotten as much play in the media as Barack Obama’s pledge made last fall about public financing.

Here’s a quote from one of his advisors:

(Emphasis mine)

If I were in BO’s campaign, I’d have my candidate sue the FEC to enforce the law. I’d have him make a speech saying that for eight years, Republicans haven’t felt obligated to obey the law, and now their candidate is making a mockery of campaign finance law even though he co-authored one of the most sweeping campaign finance reforms in history.

What if there actually was a quorum at the FEC that could act on his request? (I note from one of the articles cited upthread that this dispute has been going on since December of 2005.) The WaPo article implied that the loan tapdance he did would have been legal. But as Pochacco notes, even if he didn’t actually take any money, he did take other benefits, namely the free ballot access.

This thing should have the potential to derail McCain’s campaign.
(That quote, BTW, is from )

Running out the clock with legal fights is dangerous for McCain though. At the end of the day, I doubt the penalty for breaching the campaign finance law is more then a fine, and I’m sure McCain can raise the money to pay it quickly without hurting his bottom line too much.

But having a bunch of lawyers squabbling for months in public courts and FEC hearings over whether he obeyed the fine print of the public financing laws, after having finance reform as one of his biggest legacies from his time in the senate, risks being far worse for his image then being able to afford a few million less in campaign commercials. If I were McCain, I’d try and deal with this quickly one way or another while attention is still on the Dems, rather then wait for a challenger to emerge and still have a live issue for them to make hay out of.

Not really, if McCain behaves legally then he’s screwed himself because of desperation early in the primaries as far as advertising goes. As long as he can show he’s eligible to legally withdraw from the public financing system there is nothing improper (and nothing sleazy) about withdrawing. The WaPo article suggests that as long as a candidate does not actually accept any Federal money, and doesn’t actually use the money as collateral then they can withdraw. I’ll admit that if he skirted using the loan as genuine collateral by saying “If I run out of money, I could use public financing to repay this loan” that is a tricky, “politician’s” move. Well, John McCain is a politician, note that he used a lot of political tricks to turn some of the Republican state conventions/caucuses in which he was not going to win into wins for Huckabee, thus depriving Romney of delegates. I have no problem with politicians doing nasty things to their political rivals as long as they are legal–politics is a contact sport.

All the indications from this article suggest to me that McCain is trying to follow the letter of the law, which is what should be expected of a candidate. I have no doubts if he is forced to cap his spending he will follow FEC regulations.

I doubt it. I think McCain’s a more or less honorable guy, but I don’t think his campaign can survive on the five million or whatever he has left (and I’ve seen speculation he’s already out of cash) till the end of the summer. He’d basically have to fire everyone and then rehire them when he got to the convention and could raise cash again, all while Hillary and/or Obama are (assuming one of them becomes the nominee apparent soon) raising and spending gajillions over the next few months.

If he isn’t allowed to withdraw before he reaches the spending limit either because the FEC finds against him or is unable to reach a quorem to release him, he’ll eat the fine and bad plubicity and continue to raise/spend past the cap. The other option is basically equivalent to giving up the race.