Susan Milligan, writing in the Boston Globe, takes an all-too-rare foray into John McCain’s campaign finance hypocrisy. But this bit, straight out of the McCain’s disinformation machine, simply isn’t true:
During the Republican primaries, McCain took out a $4 million line of credit for his then-flagging campaign, using the promise of federal matching funds as collateral. But after his candidacy rebounded, he never actually accepted the federal funds, allowing him to raise and spend more private money.
McCain took the money all right, but the law says that if you use the promise of federal matching funds as collateral for a loan, you can’t withdraw from the system — even if you never accepted the funds. So he’s not "allowed" to spend more private money, he’s breaking the law by doing so.
And David Mason, chairman of the FEC, confirms that McCain can’t just wave a magic wand and withdraw from the public financing system.
From the DNC complaint:
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.
It’s nice that someone is finally paying attention to the issue, but I have a feeling we’re going to be beating back this zombie lie for a while.
You can let the Boston Globe know there’s a bit more to the story here.