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Campaign Finance Reform Group Targets McCain

By Matthew Mosk
For much of the 2008 presidential campaign, groups that fought alongside Sen. John McCain to reform the nation's campaign finance system have remained silent about what they privately viewed as McCain's quiet retreat from the issue.

Over the past year, McCain's name has been notably absent from legislation that would bring voluntary public financing to congressional elections, as well as from the Presidential Funding Act -- an effort to modernize the current presidential public financing system. McCain had co-sponsored a similar bill in 2003, but this year his former campaign finance reform partner, Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wisc.) is being joined by a different Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

Brooke Buchanan, a McCain spokeswoman, told the Boston Globe that the Arizona senator believes the current system needs to be modernized but did not co-sponsor the most recent bills because he viewed that as a conflict of interest, because he was a potential recipient of matching funds.

That answer has not satisfied the Public Campaign Action Fund, a nonpartisan group that once rallied behind McCain's proposals for new campaign finance laws. Tonight, as McCain is joined at the Willard Hotel by a crowd of Washington lobbyists who will be donating to his presidential campaign, the group will protest the senator who was once an ally. David Donnelly, the group's national campaigns director, is releasing a sharply critical report called "McCain's Multiple Views on Public Financing of Elections." The report outlines McCain's gathering support for the concept of public financing and then shows his retreat over the past two years.

"This is not a partisan issue for us," Donnelly said. "For us, we just felt that staying on the sidelines was not an option."

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 8, 2008; 11:37 AM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , John McCain , The Green Zone  
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