WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Democratic National Committee said Tuesday it plans to file a lawsuit next week to try to force a federal investigation over whether John McCain’s withdrawal from the public financing system violated the law – the latest move in an effort that dates back to February, when the Arizona senator effectively clinched the Republican presidential nomination.
Democrats say McCain’s decision to use the promise of federal matching funds as collateral to keep his financially struggling campaign afloat late last year prevents him from withdrawing from the system – and its strict spending requirements – now that he is on sounder financial footing.
The DNC first filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, which has lacked a working quorum all year – which means it has not officially ruled on either McCain’s request or the DNC complaint. Two months ago, a court ruled that the FEC could convene without a quorum within the 120-day window they are allowed to examine complaints. The new suit, which the party plans to file in U.S. District Court next week, is intended to force the agency to take action before that period ends June 24.
UPDATE: Republicans again dismissed the effort as political grandstanding. “Having been thrown out of court just one month ago, the DNC now announces that it will once more file the same meritless lawsuit, again wasting judicial resources for its own political agenda. Once again, the DNC has neither the law nor the facts on their side,” said Republican National Committee Chief Counsel Sean Cairncross.