(CNN) - Likely Republican nominee John McCain – who has tangled with potential Democratic rival Barack Obama over public financing of their general election campaigns – was told by the Federal Election Commission Thursday that his own bid to withdraw from the primary season version of that system may have hit some roadblocks.
The February 19 letter, which was released by the commission Thursday, comes several weeks after the Arizona senator’s campaign thought he had withdrawn from that system and the spending limits it imposes.
The FEC said in the letter to McCain’s campaign released Thursday that there were two issues preventing them from accepting that request.
The commission needs to vote on his application – but a battle between President Bush and Congress over potential FEC nominees means they have not had the quorum needed to decide on such a request so far this year.
They also say they want to learn more about a loan McCain received where potential payouts to come under the public financing system may have been used as collateral.
The McCain team has insisted that its existing request was never part of the terms of the loan, merely the possibility of future payouts – but in its letter, the FEC asks the campaign to provide more information about the terms of that agreement before it rules on whether or not McCain will be required to remain within the federal financing system.
If his withdrawal is denied, then McCain may have already spent more on his presidential bid than is allowed under FEC guidelines, and would not be able to spend more until he receives his party’s nomination this summer.