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FEC Poses Fresh Problem for McCain

Updated 1:11 p.m.
By Matthew Mosk
Just when things seem as though they couldn't get worse for Arizona Sen. John McCain comes a letter from the Federal Election Commission, alerting him to the possibility that he may not be able to withdraw from the presidential public financing system.

McCain applied to be certified for federal matching money last year, when his campaign was running on fumes. But unlike former North Carolina senator John Edwards, McCain never actually took the federal funds. He was merely preserving that option. Once his campaign started to take off, he wrote to the FEC requesting to withdraw from the program.

The reply from the FEC (PDF), dated Feb. 19 and released by the FEC today, will almost certainly come as a shock to the campaign, which assumed McCain had withdrawn from the public system two weeks ago and was now free to spend money without regard to federal limits.

The reason this matters so much? Life within the public financing system, in which candidate contributions are matched with federal funds, comes with severe spending restrictions. Most notable among them is an overall spending cap of $54 million that would hang over the campaign until McCain officially accepts his party's nomination at the Republican National Convention in September. McCain has already spent $49 million, according to a report his campaign filed this week, though some of that could be backed out under various exemptions.

Still, the spending restriction would create an enormous crisis for a campaign that had planned to raise and spend huge volumes of money over the next six months.

The explanation for the FEC's letter is twofold. Number one, it says, the FEC will need to vote on his request to withdraw. But the FEC has not had a quorum since New Year's Day, when Congress deadlocked over four pending nominations from President Bush. Without a quorum to vote on his request, the letter says, he will have to remain within the system.

The second issue is more complicated. It involves a $1 million loan made to McCain in January by a Bethesda bank, for which he attempted to use possible future federal funds as collateral.

McCain's attorney has argued that the loan was careful to never put up as collateral the campaign's current request for federal funds. The lawyer, Trevor Potter, told the Associated Press that he believes McCain has withdrawn from the system, that McCain will not adhere to spending limits, and that the FEC can't stop him. Potter said the campaign did not encumber the public funds in any way.

"Well, it was done before in another campaign.... We think it's perfectly legal. One of our advisers is a former chairman of the FEC, and we are confident that it was an appropriate thing to do," McCain said in a news conference Thursday.

But the FEC is requesting the McCain campaign present the government with more information about the loan before it can decide whether McCain will now be locked into the federal system.

Posted at 12:12 PM ET on Feb 21, 2008  | Category:  The Green Zone
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Lessons learned from the McCain camp:

1. Have a message so strong, actual PEOPLE (not bundling lobby types) want to donate to. Remember, remember the 5th of November?

2. A lot has been done here by McCain to hamstring himself by his own, rediculous, laws ... AKA McCain/Fiengold = Priceless.

3. "The jobs aren't comming back, the illegals aren't going home, endless government, and endless war", is not a winning campaign slogan for the general election.

Posted by: rodneysmith1 | February 24, 2008 3:39 PM

Ron Paul is truly looking better and better as the truth comes out about all the others still in the race.

Posted by: cmarielizabeth | February 23, 2008 11:36 PM

THE PRESIDENT OF THE NAACP IS FRIENDS WITH RON PAUL!! HE SAID RON PAUL IS NOT A RACIST!!! THESE ARE ALL LIES POURED OUT BY THE ESTABLISHMENT BECAUSE RON PAUL IS THE ONLY ONE FOR THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE!! ALL OTHERS ARE PAID BY THE LOBBIESTS MACPAIN IS FUNDED BY UNIVISION!

MCPAIN IS THE WORST AMERICA TRAITOR!
VOTE RON PAUL!

Posted by: jazzmusic333 | February 23, 2008 2:50 PM

John McCain has always had a problem with money. If he sees it, he has to get near it. If he gets near it, he has to touch it. If he touches it, he has to put it in his pocket. If he puts it in his pocket, he has to spend it. What is the GOP to do? How can Republicans remain the party of fiscal conservatism and morality if they continue to support candidates who are neither fiscally conservative, nor moral. I have an idea. Let's rescue the Republican Party from the clutches of the thieves and carpetbaggers who have conquered it and take back our party. VOTE RON PAUL!

Posted by: Sprite1 | February 23, 2008 9:11 AM

McCain-Feigngold have anything to do with McCains predicament? If so... LOLOLOLOL!!!

Posted by: calmabus | February 22, 2008 11:32 PM

Life insurance policy?! Are you kidding?

Live by reform, die by reform.

If Sen. McCain is not capable of hiring people to properly advise him or to tend to the details of FEC regulations, how can anyone vote for him to run the country? Is Potter a first-year attorney out of Liberty University?

Torture=bad - torture=good
Tax cuts=bad - tax cuts=good
Public campaign financing=good - following the rules=bad
Lobbyists=bad - lobbyists=good
...What's next?

Posted by: missmelodius | February 22, 2008 10:45 PM

It seems no one cares about principles anymore. No one cares for honesty, or integrity. People seem to vote the way to poll goes, in essence, letting the media decide who they support. I have, and will continue to vote from the heart, based on principles, not the way I am told.

That is why my vote goes to Ron Paul, he is a man I would trust with the future of my children, and their children. You want your children to be drafted into a war that serves the interests of defense contractors? Is that all a human life is worth? Think about it. Ron Paul 2008.

Posted by: spearsoft | February 22, 2008 9:37 PM

If John McCain cannot manage the finances of his campaign, how can he contribute to the financing of the nation? The same applies to Michael Huckabee. Of the Republican campaigns, only Dr. Paul's is well-financed. Moreover, it has no debt.

Posted by: a110438ringwalt | February 22, 2008 9:31 PM

Campaign finance laws are silly and are restrictions on our liberties. The supporters of the candidates, particularly of Ron Paul, use their own money to help their respective candidates. Campaign finance laws do not apply to these contributions. For that reason, Dr. Paul was against these laws.
However, John McCain must abide by the laws. After, all he is(was) a champion of campaign finance laws. According to the intent of the framers of the laws, public finance money is not suitable collateral for loans, whatever their purpose.

Posted by: a110438ringwalt | February 22, 2008 9:22 PM

Hmmm ... let me see, isn't there a candidate somewhere who, on principle, would never accept federal matching funds, and also would refuse to finance his campaign with debt? Oh yes, there is one. Ron Paul.
Seems to me he has remained faithful to his wife. Seems to me he would never abandon or betray his fellow servicemen on the battlefield during or after a war. Seems to me he talks straight from the heart drawing on internalized concepts of liberty, equality and justice while others in this race can not even read a teleprompter without screwing up. My friends, the choice is clear, is it not?
RonPaul2008.com

Posted by: archhistorian | February 22, 2008 7:49 PM

Cheats on his campaign finances.
Sells out his position as Senator to a lobbyist - okay, make that AT LEAST one lobbyist.
Utterly ignorant about economics - the MOST important qualification for a candidate this time around.
Boy I sure am glad we got rid of that crazy Ron Paul who has 20 years of doing the right thing and 50 years of marriage under his belt - the guy who wrote SIX books on economics. Has McCain ever READ a whole book?
Oh Yeah, I can see we made the right choice here.

Posted by: lnardozi | February 22, 2008 6:14 PM

Or the Republicans could nominate a candidate who has no trouble raising money (none of it from lobbyists), who is strongly against amnesty for illegal aliens (instead of the chief proponent of the idea), who has never voted for a tax increase (and doesn't flip flop), and who has a chance against the Democrat in November because he actually voted against the Iraq war:

Ron Paul.

Posted by: drd6000 | February 22, 2008 5:05 PM

I have been waiting on the words - "I DID NOT HAVE SEX WITH THAT WOMAN" and now with the FEC problem I can only imagine the type of excuses will flow from his "straight shooting" mouth.

Posted by: Republicae | February 22, 2008 4:23 PM

If McCain's campaign is run this way, no telling how the presidency would turn out. Dr. Ron Paul is, so far, the only person running that shows financial, as well as personal integrity. If it were not for the obvious media black out and proved election fraud, Dr. Paul would be doing a lot better.
It is the opinion of many that only someone with the integrity, historical and economic perspective of Dr. Paul can turn this country around.

Posted by: mmosely465 | February 22, 2008 4:22 PM

THE NATION HAS ANOTHER CHANCE TO LOOK AT THE TRUE (NOT HUCKABEE) CONSERVATIVE IN THIS RACE: RON PAUL.

Posted by: Melaniebrady121 | February 22, 2008 4:15 PM

Ehh, I'm still voting for Ron Paul.

Posted by: ExGiulianiGuy | February 22, 2008 3:47 PM

Amazing!! This is the guy who has been lecturing this country on Campaign Finance Reform and getting bills passed that limit our right to free speech. And all in the name of reform while he breaks evry law and rule of ethics.

Is there really anyone stupid enough to vote for him?

Posted by: pearlnpeter | February 22, 2008 12:36 PM

Saw this on a blog this morning. I laughed so hard I am still wiping coffee off my monitor

" My friends, there maybe some snow on the hanger deck, but my A-4 can still turn and burn! "

Posted by: ricswave | February 22, 2008 11:24 AM

How can a committee without a quorum do any business at all? Therefore the actions of one individual cannot be considered as the voice of the inactive committee. The inability of the elected officials to fill the positions on a committee should not rebound on any candidate running for office.
As the committee is in effect defunct I do hope any salaries are also escrowed until the committee is correctly brought to full membership. phorrock

Posted by: phorrock | February 22, 2008 11:13 AM

Republicans need to wake up and realize that John McCain cannot and will not win against Barack Obama. The only republican who can beat him is Ron Paul. He voted against the Iraq war and he has a consistent voting record. He would do very well against Obama in debates. Paul is an expert on the economy and would get a lot of democrats over to the conservative side. It's too late for McCain to gain any more support, but it's not too late for things to turn around and see a resurgence of the Ron Paul campaign.

Posted by: joe.alvarez | February 22, 2008 10:53 AM

I forgot to mention to the Washington Post about McCain's amnesty rhetoric.

Watch this, and you will know why:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4b9y3RgUSo

Posted by: tess101 | February 22, 2008 9:30 AM

Washington Post thank you for writing the truth about McCain. He is not the true Republican's choice, and surely not mine.

Would love to see a write up on him regarding his Keating Five scandals, or some of the true stories regarding his hot temper, and the way he has verbally mistreated other members in the Senate, and in Congress because he did not get his way, hmm..sounds like Bush doesn't it.

To vmikalinis:
You wrote that the Republican party should abandon McCain, well I agree 100%. The true conservatives of the Republican party like me have never supported McCain. Yes, as you can tell I am a Ron Paul supporter, and have been a Republican for quite a few years. Unfortuntely, I voted for Bush the 1st time, but not the second time. The last Bush election was rigged, and he came out the winner even though he lost. The GOP has their head so far down the rabbit hole they wouldn't know who the true conservative was if they were back handed by the man himself. McCain is no different than Bush when it comes to foreign policies, but he does say he wants to reach across the isle to the Dems, what I think he means by that is he wants to continue to grow government instead of staying to the old true conservative course of a small government as Ron Paul would do. McCain seems to want everything both ways, and in all honesty, he shows a huge lack of solid principles, and integrity with every word that comes out of this mouth. Honestly, I am ashamed to be a Republican right now, but I do know there is one candidate willing to do the right things for America, and it's people, and that is Ron Paul. I will continue to support Ron Paul, and his message to the brokered convention, and hope that McCain digs his hole so deep he has to drop out.

Posted by: tess101 | February 22, 2008 9:17 AM

McCain's campaign for the 4th quarter 2007 shows that he was in debt..hmmm..why would we want someone to represent us who can't even keep his Presidential Campaign out of debt? Just imagine what he will do to our country. He would be just like Bush. I will be voting for Ron Paul thank you very much. http://ronpaul2008.com

Posted by: tess101 | February 22, 2008 8:51 AM

Folks McCain doesn't even know how to balance his campaign budget how will he balance the U.S.'s budget?

Obama takes money from criminals and represented criminals.

The Dems had one honest Pro-Peace candidate but they never gave him a chance. They allowed the media to pick their choices.
Now the only candidate still running that is honest happens to be republican. Ask why our troops know about him and you don't? Why our troops donated to him more then they donated to all the other candidates combind.
Ask yourself why you should vote Ron Paul?

Posted by: Sappy | February 22, 2008 8:47 AM

The Republican party needs to abandon McCain. He is a dangerous man who is hated by the men who should love him. Employees of him hate him and he is rumored and confirmed to be involved in many shady deals. We need to demand more from our representatives. This is a man who sung a song about murder as if it were a nursery rhyme. We must wake up people, find out about the "federal" reserve. The end of the game is near. You have no idea how important your vote is. Governments are being manipulated with trillions of dollars , Americans are numbers on a spreadsheet, your liberty is not important.

"Let us face reality. The framers (of the Constitution) have simply been too shrewd for us. They have outwitted us. They designed separate institutions that cannot be unified by mechanical linkages, frail bridges, (or) tinkering. If we are to turn the founders upside down... we must directly confront the Constitutional structure they erected."
- James MacGregor Burns, Council on Foreign Relations member, 1984

Posted by: vmikalinis | February 22, 2008 8:36 AM

Putting McCain, Obama, Clinton or Huckabee in the White House will definitely fulfill this quote...."As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

Posted by: Republicae | February 22, 2008 6:56 AM

I for one find John and Cindy's (Hensley) past more interesting. Let's pass over for the moment that she was a drug addict who stole the drugs from her own charity.
Let's examine her dad, who went to jail when he worked for Kemper Marley, Arizona's first billionaire. For a real hot read, just wiki Don Bolles, he was the investigative reporter in Phoenix who was murdered (took 11 days to die) by a car bomb.
At the bottom of the page under external links, you'll find "The Death in Arizona of the Kemper Marley Machine".
Pretty fascinating stuff, and I know that some words are misspelled, but it would be hard to make this stuff up.
Spread the word, like Paul Revere did!

Posted by: 2by2 | February 21, 2008 10:29 PM

The "letter from the FEC" is in fact from only its chairman, David Mason. It would be difficult to underestimate the weight this letter carries.

The commission Mason is chairman of is supposed to have 6 members. But currently it has only 2, that's including Mason. Chairman Mason cannot seat a quorum. Because of that, the commission is incapable of performing official business or reaching any kind of binding decision. At this point the letter is merely Mason's opinion, not a ruling by the FEC.

Read the letter. Note that pathetic cc to the one, lonely, other commission member.

For a laugh. check out: http://www.fec.gov/members/members.shtml

McCain may end up in campaign finance trouble, but this letter ain't it.

Posted by: WylieD | February 21, 2008 9:44 PM

The GOP better start vetting another candidate and quickly; where's Huckabee?

Posted by: meldupree | February 21, 2008 7:56 PM

So if McCain doesnt want public funds why was he blabbering on with the press about Obama's promise. Obama isnt even the nominee yet and his promise was based on whether the opponent would use public funding. How cynical of McCain.

Posted by: paulnolan97 | February 21, 2008 6:55 PM

Here's why Ron Paul is not the front runner:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22ron+paul+political+report%22

Posted by: JakeD | February 21, 2008 6:44 PM

Well, we still have a perfect candidate if you don't like the dirty money people- check out Ron Paul. He is still in thee race, still untainted, still honest as the day is long. Winder why the press dissed him for so long? *NOBODY* had him in their pocket.

So answer me this- if we're all so disgusted with politics as usual, why is Ron Paul not the front runner?

Posted by: copleyjd | February 21, 2008 6:39 PM

I am a treasurer for federal political campaign and party committees:
1. the federal matching funds come from money individual taxpayers specifically designate to be spent on federal campaigns. It is designated by checking the box at the bottom of the 1040 form. This is not general fund of taxpayer money. It is not dirty money.

2. The person who said the donor list is "confidential" is obviously ignorant of campaign finance disclosure law. Anyone and everyone who donates to a federal committee is explictly told as required by law that their name, address, amount of contributions, occupation and employer is reported to the FEC. The FEC publicly publishes this information on its website and many other private organizations also publish this information. There is NO secret donor list or even an implied or inferred expectation of "confidentiality". And really, think about, banks make money by selling money or attracting depositors. They do not call people and say, "Would you care to make a donation to our bank? please give us $20, $50, or a $1000?" It just dont work that way.

3. This is a timing issue of when the campaign withdrew from the public financing and when the govt agency acted on the issue. Example: If you paid your speeding ticket and got a receipt but the accountant was on vacation so the payment sat on the court clerk's desk for two weeks and now DMV says you have a suspended license for failure to pay you would be correctly yelling that the suspension was bullcrap. The FEC is saying that because it is on vacation
McCain withdraw. thats just BS.
When they do finally have a meeting they will rule the effective date of the withdrawal was when the request came in.

in 2001 after its audit the FEC hailed the McCain campaign as having the "cleanest presidential campaign audit" in FEC history.

This campaign will be the same.

Posted by: vze2zyk2 | February 21, 2008 6:23 PM

I swear, watching the video of McCain DENY the allegations about his ties to the Vicki Iseman SOOOOO reminds me of the whole Clinton/Lewinski affair. Are we to elect him to office to find out that the story is on point???? NOT!

And how about Cindi, in her "BREAKIN' BAD" effort to put Michelle Obama in her place? Cindi NEVER appeared (to me) to be the kind of L A D Y that would parse her lips to speak those kinds of words...Awful, Just AWFUL.

I am sick and TIRED of this kind of stuff...makes me SICK to MY STOMACH...YUCK!

Posted by: UNBELIEVABLE.TRUTH | February 21, 2008 5:56 PM

McCain/Feingold is the biggest assault on free speech in our country's history. I hope McCain chokes on the FEC ruling and then votes in Congress to do away with it. He made the darn rules. He needs to live by them!! We do not need another President who thinks he is above the law. Goodness knows we have had a lot of Presidents in the last 40 years who thought they were above the law...in BOTH parties. What we need to do is to impeach a couple and then the country will relearn who is boss. We are. And that the Congress is not made up of Constitution-illiterate wimps even though is sure seems like it at times.

Posted by: RamseySt | February 21, 2008 5:54 PM

The article reveals one of the ways in which McCain will "cheat" Obama if both sides agree to public financing without an agreement to prevent cheating. McCain will have unlimited spending through his convention in early September and then have two months in which to spend $85M. Obama, whose convention is earlier, will be limited to $85M over a longer period of time.

If the point is to have a level playing field, then the cutoff date for unlimited spending should be the same.

Posted by: mnjam | February 21, 2008 5:34 PM

Is the quorum possibly controlled by the actions of the Democratic-majority Congress? Could they hold up the creation of the quorum forever?

Posted by: egc52556 | February 21, 2008 5:21 PM

The bank loan language does *not* compel John McCain to perform in any way. It simply requires him to maintain a particular legal status long enough for the bank to seek federal matching funds on the basis of that status. He does not have to do anything; he does not have to campaign, raise funds, or perform in any way, and can stay in bed the whole time for all the bank cares. He is simply barred from filing paperwork removing himself from the race until the bank has gotten its money from the taxpayers. The loan language is basically the equivalent to language permitting a contractor to file a mechanic's lien against a homeowner's home.

Posted by: ladylily21 | February 21, 2008 5:09 PM

I think Cindy McCain should show us her finacials since she loaned money to her husband's campaign. We need to know now where it really came from. (tongue in cheek)

Posted by: 1ken | February 21, 2008 5:09 PM

Yesterday, McCain accused Obama of "doublespeak" in response to Obama's in-depth, thoughtful comments on the complicated issue of campaign financing.

Would you care to retract that accusation, Mr. McCain, now that it's obvious to everyone that public financing is a little more complicated than you realized?

Posted by: DoTheMath | February 21, 2008 5:06 PM

Just want to thank all of you for your input - I think you said it all. And that's all I have to say about that. YES WE CAN, YES WE CAN (oops, sorry Mr. Obama for play-ger-izing you.)

Posted by: MissClarty | February 21, 2008 5:01 PM

I thought the post from "suasory" was pretty funny. Don't burst a capillary.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | February 21, 2008 4:53 PM

Three questions:

First, how can a Campaign Committee/borrower compel McCain to remain an active political candidate?

Second, is it realistic to expect the FEC to take action against McCain without a quorum?

Third, what is the name of the Bethesda Bank? I'd like to get my funds out before there is a run on it for stupidity.

Posted by: djfindyne | February 21, 2008 4:50 PM

Interesting that McCain supporters are suddenly hostile to the press, when up to now the press has loved the man, brandishing him as the comeback kid, and helping build the hollow image of him as a paragon of ethics. I suspect these revelations today will prove the tip of an iceberg of hypocrisy. An honest man? We'll see.

Posted by: rickgore45 | February 21, 2008 4:49 PM

Liar Cancer Face McClown cheats on his wives, steals from the people, lies about fund raising, and still expects to be elected president? Traitor Joe must have some big money behind his support of old cancer face....

Posted by: silverpanda | February 21, 2008 4:49 PM

So the FEC doesn't have a quorum? So what? Exactly who is going to stop McCain from spending all the money he wants to? All that would happen is that the FEC fines his campaign long after the election is over.

Posted by: spidey103 | February 21, 2008 4:46 PM

This is not all there is to the McCain loan saga. To secure one of his earlier loans from that same Maryland bank, he promised away all of his campaign assets. Included among those goodies is his donor list. The donor list just happens to be confidential by agreement (contract) with the donors. Giving it away amounts to a breach of the confidentiality aspect of his contract with his donors. All it takes is one cranky, disaffected donor to file suit. So where does Mr. Straight Talk hide his ethics when they work against him? McCain is just another Republican chump that gets caught with his pants down!

Posted by: ButchDillon | February 21, 2008 4:36 PM

In order to calm the waters, how about sending to Belgrade the architects of our Kosovo policy, Bill Clinton, Ho-Ho Holbrooke and the Little General? Ambassador Khalilzad could coordinate the group which surely will receive a warm reception.

Posted by: filoporquequilo | February 21, 2008 4:28 PM

Don't Throw Stones if you live in a glass house.

Is this what 30 years of experience buys us not knowing the subtle rules of campaign finance?

Hey vote for experience. Experience is code for I am old and scared of young energetic passionate people.

What ever happened to be talented as an adjective to describes ones ability?

Posted by: scootab | February 21, 2008 4:25 PM

Thanks to the person who posted the language from the loan. There's no enforceable way to enjoin a person to remain a candidate; it constitutes a form of slavery. In contract law, most 'specific performance' clauses are null for the same reason.

To the posters criticizing McCain for this, saying the straight talk express is still talking straight:

Stop being MORONS.

The loan language quoted above clearly anticipates the possibility of withdrawal. There's nothing dirty about it.

Worse, the sole reason McCain may withdraw is that Barack Obama is a liar and a rat who has to "check with his advisers" before deciding whether to go back on his word. Boy, I really want to vote for *that* guy.

McCain wants to "shackle" Obama? Hmmm... Was that supposed to be a *slavery* reference? (Oops, I'm obviously a racist for noticing the connotations of your figure of speech. I must have a dirty mind. Certainly, you didn't use the term "shackle" to hint that McCain is being racist -- of course not.)

I'll trust McCain's word over Obama's any day. After all, this Obama is the same guy who couldn't remember how much interaction he had to do with Rezko ... only 5 billable hours, he said. Not so fast, you liar! You were chummy with this sleaze, and you *forgot* about it? You think it's okay to characterize a years-long friendship as "five billable hours"?

More fairy tales from Barack.

Oh, yeah, I forgot. We're never ever ever aloud to say that, because it's obviously and inherently racist. I should re-name the collected works of the Brothers Grimm and Mother Goose. Racists, all. Hey, I have an idea: The thought police Obamites should report me to the Post and have my comment stricken. It's obviously "inappropriate," since it calls other people on their politically correct b.s.

Posted by: suasory | February 21, 2008 4:22 PM

What a total hypocrite McCain is. He's been knocking Obama for having second thoughts about public financing after his donations took off, when he himself had already tried to back out of the system the minute he got past his cash crunch.

In fact if you look at the terms of McCain's bank loan that kept him afloat, he clearly used the potential of public financing (that is, taxpayers' dollars) as collateral to secure a loan which enabled him to stick with private financing, and thus to have no limit on the amount of lobbyists' money he could spend.

He gamed his own "reformed" system in the most cynical way.

Posted by: kenonwenu | February 21, 2008 4:17 PM

The smiling,humble,soft spoken candidate will have to spend a lot of time looking for a new image. Mc Cain is not really Mr. Nice Guy after all. God's candidate, the Reverend Mike is waiting in the wings. Could this be the miracle Huckabee has been looking for?

Posted by: bapabill | February 21, 2008 4:15 PM

"Just when things seem as though they couldn't get worse for Arizona Sen. John McCain"

This kind of spin in a paper like the Washington Post really annoys me. I know you guys are constantly desperate for a narrative, but come one. "Couldn't get any worse?" If today is as bad as it could possibly get for the McCain campaign then Cindy needs to call Laura and ask when she can drop by and measure for new drapes.

The FEC's request is certainly news worthy, but it's hardly a campaign-ending crisis. It's a request for information about a relatively obscure point of campaign finance law being made by a government bureaucracy. A bureaucracy, by the way that is currently legally hamstrung from taking any action, either favorable or unfavorable, at all.

Posted by: anon99 | February 21, 2008 4:13 PM

Question: Why was the straight-talk express getting down on Obama as this has been going on?

Answer: McCain's straight-talk express does not talk straight and McCain is a hypocrate.

I lost all respect for McCain long ago after he kissed Bush's *utt after the election was given to him.

McCain may be getting senile.

Go, go Obama.

Posted by: jukeboyjoe | February 21, 2008 4:09 PM

What should we call this lobbyst scandle? VickieGate?

Seriously, even there was no romantic relationship be McCain and Vickie, McCain should know better. If you fly with a hot lobbyst who is 30 years to your junior, in a corporate jet that belongs her client, that's bad judgetment.

I guess it's true when you get older, say pass 60, you become a teenager again. After all, McCain is only human.

Posted by: nnabao | February 21, 2008 4:01 PM

why don't we start all over again?
Why public people lie when they should know that everything they did will come out?Why we need to know all of this.

Where are the "perfect" people?

Posted by: doras | February 21, 2008 3:59 PM

And here McCain is criticizing Obama about public financing. Well, he should be careful about his negative attacks. It is coming back to bite McCain.

Posted by: goldie2 | February 21, 2008 3:48 PM

Well. The sex sounds boring and vague...


But the money sure is dirty.

Posted by: rachiavelli | February 21, 2008 3:36 PM

Thank you!
You cant trust them they all take
And take and never tell the truth abought
anything dem. or Rep.
Arent you tired of it all yet? I am
but get out and VOTE and see what happens
after who ever wins.
" Good Luck"

Posted by: coyote | February 21, 2008 3:14 PM

Obama Campaign Finance = Genius! Brilliant!

Posted by: jade_7243 | February 21, 2008 2:16 PM

Yet another "wheel" has fallen off the Straight Talk Express. Sigh ..............

Posted by: jkuhl7 | February 21, 2008 2:06 PM

The following has been represented to me to be the peculiar language in the Bethesda bank loan:

"Additional Requirement. Borrower and lender agree that if Borrower [McCain's campaign commitee] withdraws from the public matching funds program, but John McCain then does not win the next primary or caucus in which he is active (which can be any primary or caucus held the same day) or does not place at least within 10 percentage points of the winner of that primary or caucus, Borrower will cause John McCain to remain an active political candidate and Borrower will, within thirty (3) days of said primary or caucus (i) reapply for public matching funds, (ii) grant to Lender, as additional collateral for the Loan, a first priority perfected security interest in and to all Borrower's right, title and interest in and to the public matching funds program, and (iii) execute and deliver to Lender such documents, instruments and agreements as Lender may require with respect to the foregoing."

I asked transactional lawyers to comment yesterday at "the Fix" on apparent unenforceability of this clause except by call of the loan.

Now I ask election law specialists
how this can be construed as a pledge of an interest in a current matching fund. Is that in fact, the test under the FEC? I am at lunch and nobody is going to pay me to research it. So I hope someone here can comment from prior knowledge.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 21, 2008 1:46 PM

No wonder he's so set on getting Obama similarly shackled. He can thank his friend GW 'uniter not a divider' Bush for the deadlock. Let's give this guy a Federal Budget to play with.

Posted by: thebobbob | February 21, 2008 1:34 PM

As I understand the rules, Mrs. McCain's loan to her own husband's campaign would still be subject to the $2300 limit, even if she charged interest on the loan. John McCain could have loaned the money from his own personal funds (i.e. FEC Form 10; 11 CFR 400.21 and 400.22).

Posted by: JakeD | February 21, 2008 1:13 PM

Not much he can do about the quorum problem, but perhaps Cindy McCain now wishes she had loaned her husband the money (without requiring the funds as collateral) rather than the Bethesda bank.

Posted by: TomJx | February 21, 2008 12:53 PM

Bomb, bomb, bomb; bomb FEC.

Posted by: JakeD | February 21, 2008 12:33 PM

I guess the straight talk express isn't so straight!

Posted by: woodard3 | February 21, 2008 12:29 PM

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