November 13th, 2008
12:21 PM ET
10 years ago

RNC to file suits over reform law championed by McCain

The RNC announced Thursday that it is filing two lawsuits about the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill.

The RNC announced Thursday that it is filing two lawsuits about the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill.

(CNN) – The Republican National Committee is taking aim at the campaign finance reform law that is one of the trademark legislative achievements of the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain.

The RNC announced Thursday that it will file two lawsuits challenging portions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, a major overhaul of federal campaign finance law enacted in 2002 that ban so-called “soft money” from the federal elections and that is commonly referred to as the “McCain-Feingold” bill after its two Senate sponsors.

A suit to be filed in Louisiana federal district court challenges the law’s limits on the amount of money national and state political parties may spend in coordination with candidates for seeking federal offices.

A second suit to be filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., challenges the McCain-Feingold bill’s ban on the use of “soft money” for activities that are not related to campaigns for federal office.

The RNC is charging that challenged portions of the law violate the First Amendment. “The RNC must have the ability to support state candidates, coordinate expenditures with our candidates, and truly engage in political activity on a national level,” RNC chairman Mike Duncan said in a statement released Thursday. “The RNC has operated under and complied with these provisions of the law since their enactment, and as applied it is unconstitutional,” Duncan added.

Duncan and RNC lawyers are set to discuss the two suits with reporters in a conference call Thursday afternoon.

Filed under: FEC • John McCain • RNC
soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. Joe Green

    I can't wait until December 2nd here in Georgia – I get to vote AGAINST John McCain again!

    Wow, Republicans are Soooooo clueless!

    They put America in the dumpster and wonder why we won't vote for them!

    November 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. Nick - Arlington, VA


    November 13, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Red, Red WHINE!!

    Henry Miller, Cary, NC November 13th, 2008 1:28 pm ET
    100% agree with you.

    If this goes through, then it is a sure sign that they are trying to jockey themselves even further into the corner/pockets of big business. When that happens, they are no longer "by the people, of the people and FOR the people"....instead they are "Bought and paid for by corporate america, to include foreign interests that do not in any way, shape or form represent what is best for "Joe the Plumber".

    The republicans are once again trying to sell us out, but this time they are putting our politicians in the window for any and all foreign countries/companies to buy out.

    November 13, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Sammy

    I guess the law worked just fine... until they lost the election.

    November 13, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Tabaqui

    Brian NY:

    *dies laughing*

    I'm hoping that was poorly presented sarcasm 'cause otherwise.... Yeesh.

    I really do think that if people want to give small contributions as many did to Obama/the DNC, they should be allowed. But *all* money by big corporations, lobbying groups, etc. should be banned. If you can't get 'your people' to support you, then you don't need to bother running.

    November 13, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. susan

    Of course, the GOP filed this frivolous lawsuit in Louisiana where they can expect the judicial fix to be in.

    November 13, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Paul


    November 13, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. Brian

    You know...George Washington warned about the party system. Let's let this go. Maybe we'll get back to the politics our forefathers wanted by sucking the ability of political party machines to help buy elections.

    Besides, this just makes the RNC look like sore losers.

    November 13, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Don_N

    Is this the same RNC that complained bitterly that Obama was "buying the election" when they normally outspend the Democratic Party?

    November 13, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. cool onlooker

    Lights out!

    Why doesn't this guy have the guts to admit the HUGE mistake in VP pick? If he did admit, I would respect him immensely now.

    Sadly. Never mind. Move on, America.

    November 13, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. James in Nebraska

    @Brian NY

    You say that like it's a bad thing. I for one, welcome our new ruler.

    November 13, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. Sore losers

    GOP policies are too lame to win the financial support of real people, so they need soft money from fat cats to win elections.


    Why don't we have real reform and force TV to donate limited amounts of ad time to candidates so that neither side has to kill itself raising money? Guess that's too reasonable and bi-partisan.

    November 13, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Barack Obama was able to raise more than enough money for his campaign while following the McCain/Feingold legislation.

    Why the hell can't the Republicans? What's their excuse?

    November 13, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. SD,Michigan

    You should explain in the article what is this "soft money" the RNC wants. From what I understand, it's money comming from any "generous donors", companies, unions, lobbysts, anybody with special interests...Is this what we need now? I thought everybody wanted to leave the special interests behind.

    November 13, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Gary

    Barley a week and the RNC has thrown their # 1 man under the bus and saying " Hail to the Queen" to the gal who brought him down.
    remember the old saying, " Behind every failed politician, is a Sarah Palin stabbing him in the back"

    November 13, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. EW

    Half of Obama's campaign money came from corporations, lobbyists and unions. ANd I've never heard of a union donating to a conservative. Unions always back Democrats.

    I could be elected President if I spent $650 million dollars. Thats more spent by 1 candidate than any two candidates in history. I would like to know where all of that money came from.

    November 13, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    If you think about it, ALL elections are "bought" by everyone. No one can afford to run for even local offices without monetary support from both people and organizations. The Republicans just weren't that good this time around.

    November 13, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    @ Brian NY: Honestly, are you daft?! You far-right-loons are so upset you lost you can't think straight. No one is going to be a dictator. No one has ever been in 220 years of our history.

    How sad that you think so poorly of President-elect Obama, when he isn't even in Office yet. You have to stop listening to AM Radio, Limbaugh and the other hate-mongers have INDOCTRINATED you!

    November 13, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Marty, FL

    Sure RNC, but let's agree any finance changes come with one imperative condition: the RNC is willing to adopt the same terms for donations as the DNC instituted recently. They will no longer accept donations from lobbyist groups or PAC organizations. Deal? Wishful thinking?

    Many Amercians would agree the more we remove special interests from our politics, the better.

    November 13, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. McFly

    So let me get this straight ... the reason the GOP lost nearly EVERYWHERE is because they could not "support state candidates, coordinate expenditures with our candidates, and truly engage in political activity on a national level" ... really?!?!

    Really?!?! That Is why you got smoked, GOPers!!!

    It wasn't the 200 TRILLION dollars? It wasn't the Wars? It wasn't the Wall Street mess? It wasn't record home foreclosures? REALLY?!?! You lost because of Campaign Finance Reform?!?! Are you serious!?!?!

    Nonsense I tell you … utter nonsense! Jibber-jabber in fact!

    November 13, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. Liberal and Proud of It

    David wrote, "I hope the RNC gets their act together next time and rallies behind a real candidate that best represents the will of the people: Ron Paul. Sadly given the choice between a Liberal and a Socialist, the dumb majority picked the Socialist."

    David, alas, has no idea what Socialism is, what Liberalism is, or what Conservatism is. Socialism is based on government ownership of the national infrastructure, large manufacturing facilities, utilities, etc., which no Liberal has ever proposed. Liberalism is a political philosophy whose goals are to enhance the liberty, prosperity, security, and happiness of the nation's citizens, and it is willing to use the democratically elected government as a change agent if that is the best way to get things done. Conservatism (American style, anyway) is a political philosophy which seeks to enhance the wealth and power of Conservative leaders and it has no other goals.

    November 13, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. Tien

    What? This is one of the few good pieces of legislation among all the crap that comes out of washington for a long time. These people really have no clue do they? If it's so restricting, don't take public money.

    November 13, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. grahame

    While you are chewing over this just realize that people in other countries sent money to their relatives and friends in the US to send to the Obama/ Biden ticket.

    The point is that the majority of the worlds population were absolutely disgusted with the Republicans, in particular JohnMcCain/Sarah Palin.

    You may not know this but the majority of the aforementioned world population are better informed about what goes on in the US then the majority of so called American voters. This is a sad commentary on the American education system. Most Americans don't even know where the county line is, and Palin thinks Africa is a country?

    November 13, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Lauren independent voter California

    The republicans have a hard time admitting they lost fair and square. They lost because they ran a dirty, negative campaign. They refused to address the issues, and when the economy went south, mccain failed to provide leadership.

    Instead, he and palin spent all of their time trying to make us afraid of obama. They were too clueless to realize that the more they attacked him the higher his numbers in the polls went. The old "fear and smear" that they always use backfired big time.

    November 13, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Chuck

    The Republican Party = the new poorly directed, poorly promoted, poorly written, poorly acted "New Reality TV Show". I'd watch, couldn't be any worse than "big brother", and a lot funnier.

    November 13, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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