Washington, DC - The DNC announced today that it will file a complaint with the FEC against John McCain's campaign Monday, calling on the FEC to investigate whether the McCain campaign violated or is about to violate the law by ignoring the spending limit agreement and other conditions Senator McCain agreed to when he became eligible to receive federal matching funds. According to McCain's latest campaign filing, he has already spent $49.6 million and given that a month has passed, he has exceeded or is about to exceed the approximately $56.8 million spending limit.
"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."
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.
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.
In the complaint, the DNC says "the Commission should (1) find reason to believe, pursuant to 2 U.S.C. §437g(a)(2), that Senator John McCain and the McCain Campaign have committed, or are about to commit, a violation of Chapter 96 of Title 26 and of the Commission's rules, and should conduct an investigation; and (2) pursuant to 26 U.S.C. §9040(c), petition the appropriate U.S. District Court for injunctive relief to implement and enforce the provisions of Chapter 96 against Senator McCain and the McCain Campaign."
A copy of the DNC's complaint will be available Monday once it's filed.
For Immediate Release
February 26, 2008
Contact: Karen Finney/ Damien LaVera - 202-863-8148
Applications Show More
FEC Deception from McCain Campaign
Washington, DC - The Democratic National Committee today released new documents showing that John McCain continues to play fast and loose with the facts to justify its decision to break the law by unilaterally withdrawing from the FEC's matching funds program. Yesterday, the DNC filed an FEC complaint against McCain because his campaign used his certification for public funds to help secure a private loan and gain free access to the ballot in some states. The new documents prove that McCain used his qualification for matching funds to get on the ballot in Ohio and Delaware.
Under Ohio state law, there are three ways a candidate can get on the primary. Under two options, he or she is required to collect signatures either state-wide or in each of Ohio's 18 congressional districts -- a time-consuming and potentially costly process. The other option permits them to bypass the signature collection process and demonstrate to the Secretary of State that he or she has qualified for public financing under the FEC's matching funds program. As McCain's application for the ballot shows, he chose to forego the signature collection option in favor of the matching funds option. Not only did he submit his certification letter from the FEC as evidence that he had qualified for matching funds, but all of McCain's application forms make clear that they are "only to be used by candidates for president who are eligible to receive federal matching payments under 88 Stat. 1297 (1974)."
Similarly, in Delaware, state law requires a candidate to gain access to the ballot by either 1) collecting 500 signatures from registered Republicans or 2) demonstrating that he or she has qualified for matching funds. McCain chose the second option and submitted to Delaware election officials the FEC press release announcing that he had qualified for public financing as evidence.
This comes as the DNC released an FEC letter proving that unlike
McCain, the Dean campaign followed the law and received written
permission from the FEC to withdraw from the public financing
system. Additionally, the FEC approved the Dean campaign's
request to withdraw because Dean had not yet received any public funds
and had not used matching funds as collateral to secure a private loan,
a condition the McCain campaign has already violated.
"John McCain's willingness to use matching funds when it helps his campaign and to break the law when it hurts him is exactly the sort of cynical politics and sheer hypocrisy the American people are already sick of," said DNC Communications Director Karen Finney. "John McCain should either obey the law by getting the FEC's approval to withdraw from the public financing system they signed on to, or stop distorting the truth and admit that they're wrong."
The McCain campaign's application for the Ohio ballot, which relies
on his qualification for matching funds to get on the Ohio ballot, is
available on the DNC website at:
To view McCain's application for the Delaware ballot, click here: http://www.democrats.org/page/
For Immediate Release
August 20, 2008
Contact: Karen Finney/ Damien LaVera - 202-863-8148
DNC Demands Investigation Into McCain Campaign Finance Violations
Letter Contends FEC Consideration of McCAin Withdrawal From Primary Funds Program Without an Investigation into DNC Complaint is Illegal
Washington, DC - With the Federal Election Commission scheduled to address John McCain's decision to unilaterally withdraw from the federal matching funds program on Thursday, the Democratic National Committee today called on the Commission to remove that item from its agenda and instead proceed with a full investigation of the charges made against McCain in the administrative complaint filed by the DNC in February. In a conference call with reporters this morning, DNC General Counsel Joe Sandler discussed a letter he sent to the FEC last night that argued that the Commission should not consider McCain's decision to withdraw from the matching funds program because there is no request for permission pending and the Commission hasn't yet conducted an investigation as required by the law.
To listen to this morning's conference
call, click here: http://www.democrats.org/page/
For a copy of the letter, click
On February 25, 2008 the DNC filed an administrative complaint alleging that Senator McCain was violating the law by taking the unprecedented step of announcing he was unilaterally withdrawing from the program instead of requesting and receiving permission from the FEC to be released from the obligations of the federal matching funds program. McCain is in fact already violating the law by exceeding the spending caps associated with the primaries by tens of millions of dollars. In his letter, Sandler noted that the FEC cannot issue a finding on the complaint until it authorizes a full investigation--something the Commission was unable to due as a result of the lack of a quorum at the FEC--and that the Commission cannot legally consider the matter in an open hearing without first conducting an investigation.
"Since John McCain has refused to acknowledge that he needs the FEC's permission to withdraw from the matching funds program, the Commission has a legal responsibility to remove this matter from its agenda and instead authorize a full investigation into our complaint," said DNC General Counsel Joe Sandler. "The American people have a right to know whether the John McCain who once championed himself as a reformer, saved his campaign by breaking the laws he helped craft. We are calling on the FEC to promptly conduct and conclude an investigation into the complaint we filed four months ago so that this issue can be resolved in the appropriate manner."