February 26th, 2008
11:00 AM ET
6 years ago

DNC, McCain campaign wrangle over campaign financing

(CNN)— The Democratic National Committee on Tuesday pressed its formal complaint with federal election officials contesting Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain's effort to withdraw his intention to ask for public election funding.

“John McCain is posing as a reformer,” DNC Chairman Howard Dean told CNN’s John Roberts. “It turns out reform, as far as he's concerned, is good for everybody but him.”

The Democratic Party filed an official complaint against McCain Monday with the Federal Election Commission calling on them to investigate the Senators decision earlier this month to withdraw from the primary election’s public financing system.

According to FEC regulations, written exclusion is required before withdrawal from the matching funds program, but the McCain campaign argues they did not need written permission citing Dean’s 2003 Democratic campaign as an example.

In the statement released Tuesday the DNC highlights a significant difference between now and 2003 is not only Dean's prior permission from the FEC before withdrawing, but McCain’s use of the potential financing to get on the ballot free of charge in some states as a bank loan.

The McCain campaign flatly rejects that assertion.

The FEC responded to McCain's withdrawal letter by asking him to explain the terms of his private loan, but said the issue cannot be resolved until four vacancies on the commission are filled. Currently, the board that votes on these matters does not have a quorum.

McCain campaign attorney Trevor Potter, himself a former chairman of the FEC, filed a response Monday to the commission asserting there is no "security interest in any certification for matching funds."

Ultimately, withdrawing from public financing would allow the Republican presidential frontrunner to avoid spending limitations that would have hindered how much he could raise between now and National Convention in September. This, Dean says, has benefited McCain substantially.

Related: Watch Dean accuse McCain of skirting election laws

–CNN’s Emily Sherman, Paul Courson and Kate Boulduan

Filed under: Howard Dean • John McCain
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Karen

    Now we get the whole DNC whining? They should go get their own camp in order. What a bunch of morons.

    February 26, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. H



    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 26, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    Grandpa Munster IS a poseur. He used matching funds as collaterol to get a loan now he wants to back out of the matching funds. He should not be allowed to have it both ways. However, I'm sure he will do what he wants as there no longer are any 'Law and Order' Republican candidates left on earth.

    Matt – Do your research. Howard Dean has set out to stregthen all 50 State Democratic Partys and with a candidate – Obama – that can compete in purple and red states, the Deomcratic Party will compete in every state.

    This election could be a landslide!

    Obama/Edwards in 2008!

    February 26, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. LeftyLoosey

    The FCC had better listen up before Dean starts screaming at them..

    February 26, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. Lisa in B-More

    McCain is screwed and he knows it. He is out of money, his public financing money that is, and can not receive anymore until the the Convention. That is why he needs Huckabee to leave, so he can stop going to primary states, and just have fundraisers.

    Go to the FEC website and check it out.

    February 26, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Patrick

    Even Democrats can't take Howard Dean seriously the man did the EXACT same thing before. Does he believe people will just ignore this fact? The man has been a disgrace as a party chairman and needs to resign.

    February 26, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. jp/michigan

    Wake up, Howard Dean. You set rules your candidates don't even follow. NO! advertising in Florida by democratic candidates, but Obama spent 1.3 million dollars in Florida.

    February 26, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. JohnQPublic

    It looks like things are starting to catch up with "Honest John".

    I see in other sources that Huckabee has challenged McCain to a debate.

    Wonder if the war hero will wimp out? It won't do him much good if he does because it looks like Barack is right around the corner and he'll be forced into that one.

    Too bad Republicans, looks like you've invested heavily in the wrong man.

    February 26, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. andrew

    go go GOP.4 more trillion$. spend like hell you'll get there.

    February 26, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. Lloyd Hansen

    Since there are currently on 2 people on the FEC and 6 are needed to function, the only people the DNC can blame for inaction against McCain are their own senators who are responsible for making FEC appointments.

    Also, since McCain hasn't received any money from the FEC, why should he abide by their rules. This is just one more example of the failure of the Democrat-majority congress.

    February 26, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. sigh

    "And if anyone knows about illegal fund raising and shady campaign finances, it's the democrats!"

    Really, just look at that whole Tom Delay, Jack Abromoff, Duke Cunningham etc. etc. etc. Democratic mess. Oooops.

    February 26, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. Rhonda

    Ron Paul has raised more money from active duty military members than ALL of the other candidates COMBINED. I think we need to listen to what the soldiers on the ground are saying because they are speaking with their wallets since they can't speak out any other way.

    February 26, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. Mr. Fair and Balanced

    This is ridiculous! Since when did we start expecting Republicans to play by the rules? I guess next we're going to expect them to care about the poor and the environment. Get real.

    February 26, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. Jeff

    We dont need another Bush Mccain is to Old and thinks like Bush!!!! If he wins I hope he picks a good VP thats who will end up President

    February 26, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. Nick

    Go Hilldog!!

    February 26, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    John McCain's age has a lot to do with his inability to respond precisely and quickly to these young agressive minds like Dean. Image what will happen between he and Obama when he doesn't have an advisor on stage with him in a debate.

    February 26, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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