Monday, April 7, 2008


By DeAngelo Starnes

In my recent article for, I provided a brief outline of John McCain’s problems with the FEC. Essentially, since the end of February 2008, McCain has been in violation of federal election laws as his campaign has exceeded the spending limit participants in the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Program are bound by.

McCain has bucked this limit in a manner that would make George Bush proud. First, he’s attempted to unilaterally withdraw from the program. However, he can’t do so unless and until the FEC votes on it. There aren’t enough commissioners to comprise a quorum that would make the vote legally binding.

So does he freeze his campaign spending? No. Indeed, he now claims that no FEC action is necessary for him to withdraw from the program. If the only requirement for withdrawal was non-use of the public funds, his position would be correct, as he has only spent money raised from the private sector.

However, there’s another requirement in that he couldn’t have used his certification for the funds as collateral for loans to his campaign. And he has done this not once but twice.

If no FEC action was necessary for McCain’s withdrawal from the program, why did he ask for permission to do so? Why did he lie and say he hadn’t used his certification as collateral if that wasn’t a requirement for his withdrawal?

So he’s stuck. He knows it, but doesn’t like it. And so like Bush, he thumbs his nose at the law he would have to swear to uphold if he becomes President because he still continues to spend money. He was just here in Denver last week raising money for his campaign. And you know it costs money to raise money. In fact, there isn’t a single campaign-related activity he can do without spending money.

What we have here is a candidate committing an ongoing violation of federal campaign election laws with no strong federal interference or media stories about it.

How many stories have you heard read in major newspapers, watched on news channels, or listened to on the radio about it? How many questions has he been asked regarding his problems with compliance? Shouldn’t this be a story that dogs him at every public appearance he makes? “Excuse me, Senator, but what have you done to make yourself compliant? Does this mean you will shut down your campaign until the Convention?” Because that’s his only option if he is to cease being a criminal about it

His failure to comply with legal requirements he agreed to be bound by go to the heart of his qualification to be our next president. How can we take him at his word at the Inauguration when he places his hand on the Bible and swears to uphold the Constitution? And do we wish to be subjected to another governmental leader who does what he wants when he wants? And what’s more serious, attending a church where your pastor strongly condemns America’s historical racism or breaking campaign finance laws?

And just because shot anyone or gotten caught driving under the influence doesn’t mean his violation isn’t a criminal act. And by his monthly filings, he has admitted he has violated the campaign spending limit.

The purpose of the spending limit is that a candidate is using taxpayer money to campaign. You can’t use the fact that you’re entitled to taxpayer funds as collateral to get private money and then pull out of the program. That’s gaming.

This kind of conduct is identical to the current Administration’s thumbing of on-the-book federal laws such as FISA.

The media wore Obama out over comments that weren’t even uttered by him. Here, we have a candidate who is currently in violation of federal campaign election laws. He needs to be skewered on every talk show, news report, and press conference if we are going to keep it honest in ’08. McCain has been given a pass while the media takes turns on candidates Clinton and Obama. Neither has committed a crime for their sins.

Is it because McCain is a white male as opposed to a woman or African American? What would the stories look like if either Obama or Clinton were in the same posture?

You make the call.