January 29th, 2009
06:20 PM ET
4 years ago

DNC seeks to join RNC suit over McCain's reform law

The DNC said Thursday that it wants to participate in an RNC lawsuit challenging a provision of a campaign finance reform law co-sponsored by Sen. McCain.

The DNC said Thursday that it wants to participate in an RNC lawsuit challenging a provision of a campaign finance reform law co-sponsored by Sen. McCain.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Democratic National Committee is backing a piece of trademark legislation championed by former GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain - asking the courts to allow it to defend the McCain Feingold campaign finance reform law against a challenge by the Republican National Committee.

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, commonly known as the McCain Feingold bill after its two Senate sponsors, banned so-called "soft money" – funds not subject to federal contribution limits and other restrictions – from use in federal elections and, at the same time, increased the contribution limits for "hard money," or money subject to federal limits and restrictions.

Originally filed last November, the RNC's suit challenges the law's soft money ban on the grounds that it violates the national party's right under the First Amendment to engage in political speech and other political activity.

In an effort to defend the law, the DNC announced Thursday that it wants to participate in the RNC's suit against the Federal Election Commission.

"Cloaked in the veil of a constitutional challenge, the RNC is callously attempting to dismantle needed reforms to make up for their fundraising deficiencies," DNC General Counsel Robert Bauer said in a statement.

Read: The DNC's motion to intervene

In its filing with a Washington, D.C. federal court, Democrats argue that the Republican Party's motives are purely tactical.

"Faced with a comparative disadvantage in raising 'small donor' hard money, the RNC is looking to travel back to the pre-[McCain-Feingold] era in campaign finance, regaining the license to raise unlimited soft-money donations," the DNC's motion says. The RNC's suit "is a tactical move to roll back reforms and obtain redress for its own competitive difficulties," the DNC also told the court.

The RNC reiterated Thursday that it believes the soft money ban is unconstitutional.

"The RNC is fighting for the same thing our founders fought for: the right to speak and associate freely," RNC Chairman said in an e-mail to CNN Thursday. "The campaign finance regime that governs political party activity unconstitutionally infringes upon these rights, and it should fall," Duncan added.

Filed under: DNC • FEC • RNC
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Grace

    The RNC remain clueless as usual, when they should be taking notes. This is how bi-partisanship should work. Thank you John McCain for joining forces with the DNC and stepping up for what's right.

    January 29, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. shoegazer

    I guess I'm missing something here.How does upholding this law and keeping the ban on soft money constitute a violation of the First

    January 29, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. HopeWon2008

    This should be interesting. The Republicans can't get the numbers of donors so they're trying to use their clout in the upper echelons of business to get those huge contributions. For the Republicans it's all about the dollars. They could care less about what ordinary people care about just as long as they hold the reins of power and profit from it. Shame on them!!!

    January 29, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. D Buck

    Poor Republicans... Nothing is going their way... McConnell says they need to communicate their core beliefs.... I believe their beliefs have been communicated, hence the results of the last two elections.

    January 29, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  5. Griff

    John! You are still alive; and Kicking.... Give it to them.... I wish you well..

    January 29, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  6. Griff

    The Real "Moment"... The Real Monument to America.... I give you! John (The Man of the Moment) McCain...

    January 29, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  7. SmithonPolitics

    Go DNC!

    January 29, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. James

    The RNC is suing John McCain because it needs more money? We really need more money in politics?

    January 29, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  9. Jim

    If you want to change something, do not allow internet funding for political campaigns and specifically the bundling of funds that does not allow for accountability of where the funds come from. Obama skated on that one. I would like to know where his millions came from. Best guess is most of them were illegal.

    January 29, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. Voter

    What a joke. The DNC backed out of federal funds. They looked really bad after that, and they still do.

    Now they're trying to cover for their callous rejection of the only available tool to keep politicians from buying the election.

    And don't forget – this is from the guy who looked the other way when Blagojovich and his friends were engaging in impeachable offenses year after year.

    January 29, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. Ron , West Coast


    January 29, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Texas Teacher

    Oh, Boohoo... this is ridiculous... these republicans INCLUDING McCain.. made this mess... forget them! That is exactly what they need to feel... that We are sick of them and their ugly doings! And more of the same is not going to do anything to get us out of their mess.... but simply continue their evil deeds! Pfffft... this is worse than spitting up in ones mouth... this is all out vomit material! 😦

    January 29, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. Chicago Red

    the RNC is looking to travel back to the pre-[McCain-Feingold] era in campaign finance, regaining the license to raise unlimited soft-money donations," That will not help you !!!!

    January 29, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  14. ruty

    Why dosen't McCain go back to Arizona and stop his silly, childish antics. He make me want to barf.

    January 29, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  15. Ben in Dallas

    The republicans just keep rolling along. McCain understands that unfettered big money contributions isolate the politician from the public. That is the main reason for Enron and the real estate securities failures. Big money interests over shadowed the publics right to create transparent money and commodities markets.

    January 29, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  16. The Bu Man

    Play the game clean, people

    January 29, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  17. mjm

    McCain is the best thing to ever happen to the Dems.

    Thanks for nothing McCain.

    January 29, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  18. Texas Trail Kitty

    Come on Senator McCain, come over to the dark side. Drink the koolaid of liberalism. You have far too much common sense to be a Republican. Besides, it isn't bad to be a liberal anymore. People have finally found out that conservatism is far more damaging that liberalism.

    January 29, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  19. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Sure, why not roll it back? Not when the Federal Commission can't even audit the Obama campaign funds because the Obama campaign hadt the pleasure of receiving donations from mickey mouse, donald duck, king kong and all the animated characters from Obamaland in LA.

    January 29, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  20. the whole election system is a mess

    this is a bandaid, much like any tax law

    the whole system needs revamp

    January 29, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  21. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    The RNC would like to allow the few to control our government. We the People are not going back there. The RNC needs to change or perish.

    January 29, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  22. Rob

    Of course, they have found it so easy to lie about fund raising. WHay wouldn't they back this flawed piece of legislature. If the Dems were truely interested in honesty and truth, they would plug the holes and demand full disclosure of all campaign financing.

    January 29, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  23. Daniel, Atlanta, GA

    Don't worry, nobody will donate money to the GOP again! They lost the hearts and minds of Americans and they continue to lose us, because they think that nobody's paid any attention how they have destroyed this country for the past 8 years!

    January 29, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  24. Sue

    This is cute. Bet SarahPAC has something to do with this as well.

    January 29, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  25. kelly

    The RNC should give it a rest.You want money from people you care nothing about. Get the money from Rush. Why is he getting 40,000,000/year, while the people he preaches to are in need of everything. Only in America. He also wants this president not to suceed, no ever said that about George W. He is just a failure.

    The GOP is dead.....

    January 29, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
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