Boston Globe reported McCain's attack on Obama on campaign finance, but not that McCain may be breaking campaign finance laws

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

The Boston Globe reported in an article that Sen. John McCain has "accus[ed] [Sen. Barack] Obama of going back on his word to take part in the public system" without noting that the Obama campaign has also criticized McCain on public financing or that the FEC chairman has taken the position that McCain cannot legally opt out of public financing during the primary season without FEC approval.

In a May 22 Boston Globe article, deputy national political editor Foon Rhee reported that Sen. Barack Obama "might be the first presidential candidate since the post-Watergate reforms to opt out of public financing for the general election," adding that Sen. John McCain has "accus[ed] Obama of going back on his word to take part in the public system, financed by income tax checkoffs." But Rhee did not report that the Obama campaign has also criticized McCain on public financing or that Federal Election Commission (FEC) chairman David Mason has taken the position that McCain cannot legally opt out of public financing during the primary season without FEC approval, meaning that every day that McCain spends beyond the limits of the public financing system -- which he has already exceeded -- he could be breaking federal law.

In a February 21 article, the Associated Press reported: "The government's top campaign finance regulator says John McCain can't drop out of the primary election's public financing system until he answers questions about a loan he obtained to kickstart his once faltering presidential campaign. Federal Election Commission Chairman David Mason, in a letter to McCain this week, said the all-but-certain Republican nominee needs to assure the commission that he did not use the promise of public money to help secure a $4 million line of credit he obtained in November." In a March 23 post on The Washington Post's The Trail blog, staff writer Matthew Mosk reported that "McCain has officially broken the limits imposed by the presidential public financing system," and in a February 22 article, the Post noted that "[k]nowingly violating the spending limit is a criminal offense that could put McCain at risk of stiff fines and up to five years in prison." Under the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account Act, violators could face fines up to $25,000 and up to five years of jail time.

In an April 10 article, The New York Times reported that Obama chief strategist David Axelrod drew attention to McCain's actions, reporting: "Alluding to a $4 million line of credit that Mr. McCain obtained late last year, secured in part by the promise of federal matching money for the primaries, Mr. Axelrod said the rest of the primary season 'should give Senator McCain time to figure out whether he was in or out of the campaign finance system in the primary, which is still an open question.' "

From the May 22 Boston Globe article:

For the entire campaign, McCain has raised $93 million to Obama's $266 million. Obama's performance suggests he might be the first presidential candidate since the post-Watergate reforms to opt out of public financing for the general election.

The Obama and McCain campaigns have been jockeying on the issue, with McCain accusing Obama of going back on his word to take part in the public system, financed by income tax checkoffs.

Posted In
Elections, Campaign Finance
Network/Outlet
Boston Globe
Person
Foon Rhee
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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