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.
(CNN) - The Federal Election Commission announced Friday increased contribution limits for the 2009-2010 federal campaign cycle.
Donors may now contribute $2,400 to a federal candidate during the primaries and an additional $2,400 during the general election. In the 2007-2008 cycle which just ended, the contribution limit for the primaries and general election was $2,300 each.
The limit for individual donors making contributions to a national party committee, such as the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee, has also increased to $30,400, up from $28,500 in 2007-2008.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Caroline Kennedy’s $2,300 donation to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was not returned because of her decision to endorse Barack Obama in the Democratic primary, a Clinton aide told CNN — it was sent back because the New York senator’s loss meant she would not be able to keep funds that had been contributed for her general election campaign.
The return was first reported Monday by the New York Post’s Page Six. Information available on Opensecrets.org confirms that a donation to Clinton from Kennedy was returned in August of this year, but does not provide any reason that the $2,300 was returned. Information available from the Web site of the Federal Election Commission shows that Kennedy donated the legal maximum of $4,600 to Clinton in June 2007 in two separate donations of $2,300 each.
Individual donors are limited to $2,300 to support a candidate’s primary run, and $2,300 to support a general election run for the White House.
A spokesman and adviser to Sen. Clinton informed CNN that Kennedy was one of approximately 8,000 donors who all had their contributions for Clinton’s general election bid returned on the same day four months ago.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – He’s the three-quarters of a billion dollar man.
Barack Obama's presidential campaign hauled in nearly $750 million dollars during this very long and historic campaign for the White House. That's more than twice what his opponent, Republican presidential nominee John McCain, raised and it's more than what George W. Bush and John Kerry combined raked in during the 2004 presidential campaign.
In a report filed with the Federal Election Commission Thursday, the Obama campaign reported spending over $100 million during the final few weeks leading up to the November 4 election, far more than McCain.
Obama opted out of taking public funds during the September to November general election period, becoming the first candidate for president to opt out of public financing since the system was created in the 1970s. Obama gambled that he could raise more money than the $84 million McCain received in public funds. That gamble apparently paid off.
Some other numbers: The Obama campaign raised $104 million in the five weeks leading up to and just after Election Day. And as of November 24, the last day included in this report, the Obama campaign had nearly $30 million left in the bank.
(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.
(CNN) – After nearly a month of Republican assaults on the fundraising of Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic National Committee is returning fire.
The DNC announced Saturday that it intends to file a complaint with Federal Election Commission about contributions to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign.
Read: The DNC's FEC complaint
Democrats will ask the FEC to investigate whether the McCain campaign accepted contributions in excess of the legal limits, entirely failed to report contributions, and accepted anonymous contributions in amounts greater than $50. The DNC will also request a complete audit of all contributions to the McCain campaign.
McCain was a co-sponsor of a 2002 law that effectuated a major overhaul of federal campaign finance laws. The DNC emphasized McCain’s history of supporting campaign finance reform in announcing its complaint. "The McCain campaign's lack of disclosure and disregard for the law he helped write raises serious questions about John McCain's commitment to the openness and transparency the voters expect from their leaders," the DNC’s General Counsel Joe Sandler said in a statement.
The Democratic complaint comes after the Republican National Committee and the McCain campaign have spent much of October assailing the Obama campaign for questionable donations and for lack of adequate controls to comply with legal requirements in its phenomenally successfully fundraising efforts which has yielded many small donations collected over the Internet.
Citing press reports, the RNC filed an FEC complaint that seeks an investigation into donations to the Obama campaign and an audit of every contribution to Obama including those donations the law does not require the Obama camp to disclose because they are less than $200. Republicans have also recently sought to pressure Obama to disclose his small-dollar donations even without a legal requirement to do so.
(CNN) – The Republican National Committee announced Wednesday that it plans to submit an addendum to its recent complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission about the fundraising of Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
“This is an organization that has raised over $450 million in campaign contributions,” RNC chief counsel Sean Cairncross told reporters Wednesday. “This is money that is used to elect a potential president of the United States and there are some substantial questions where some of it came from and whether some of it was raised in compliance with the law,” Cairncross added.
The addendum will be based on additional press reports of questionable donations to Obama that have come to light since the complaint was filed on October 6, according to Cairncross.
Listen: Cairncross explains updates to RNC's FEC complaint
(CNN) – The Republican National Committee asked the Federal Election Commission Monday to audit the more than $450 million donated to Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
Read: The RNC's complaint
Citing multiple media reports about questionable donations to Obama, the GOP is asking the federal agency to audit every contribution to the Democratic nominee – even those from small dollar donors which the campaign is not legally required to itemize on its finance reports to the FEC.
“The RNC believes that” the Obama campaign “has (1) accepted prohibited foreign national contributions and (2) knowingly done so through its failure to reasonably investigate questionable contributions originating abroad,” reads the complaint.
Republicans are also asking the FEC to look into whether Obama’s campaign failed to screen out contributions from individuals that exceeded donation limits when considered together. “FEC reports indicate, and media accounts highlight that [the Obama campaign] repeatedly accepts excessive contributions from individuals, including those with obviously fictitious names,” the complaint says.
The Obama campaign issued a statement Sunday that suggested it was the victim of Internet fraud. “Without accepting a dime from the Washington lobbyists or corporate PACs that have funded John McCain's campaign, our campaign has shattered fundraising records with donations from more than 2.5 million Americans,” Obama-Biden spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement issued Sunday after the RNC announced its plan to seek an FEC audit. “We have gone above and beyond the transparency requirements by disclosing our bundlers and the levels of contributions they raise. We constantly review our donors for any issues and while no organization is completely protected from internet fraud, we will continue to review our fundraising procedures to ensure that we are taking every available to step to root-out improper contributions,” Burton added.
According to the Washington Post, questions have also recently been raised about donations to Sen. John McCain. The Republican nominee's camp has not responded to CNN’s request for comment about the FEC complaint filed Monday by the RNC or about the report that the FEC is also asking for additional information about some contributions to McCain.
Related: RNC says it will seek audit
(CNN) – The fund-raising prowess of the Obama campaign may be put under a microscope, if the Republican National Committee has its way.
The RNC announced that it plans to file a complaint with the Federal Election Committee Monday that seeks an audit of the more than $450 million donated so far to Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
The complaint will address two issues highlighted in a recent Newsweek report about the Obama campaign’s fund-raising. First, the RNC will ask the federal agency responsible for enforcing campaign finance laws to audit and inquire into whether the Obama campaign accepted any money from foreign nationals, a contribution source prohibited under federal law.
“We believe that, based on the law, the Obama campaign has accepted contributions from foreign nationals and has knowingly done so through at least its failure to reasonably investigate where all this money is coming from,” RNC Chief Counsel Sean Cairncross told reporters Sunday.
Listen: RNC announces plans to ask for an audit of Obama camp's fund-raising
The FEC defines foreign nationals as foreign governments, foreign political parties, foreign corporations, foreign associations, foreign partnerships, individuals who are foreign citizens, and immigrants to the U.S. who do not have a “green card,” showing they are permanent residents or are lawfully admitted to the country.
Second, the RNC plans to ask for an audit of possible excessive contributions to the Democratic nominee. “The Obama campaign has a track record of accepting these,” Cairncross told reporters, referring to recent FEC requests directed at the Obama campaign to explain what appear to be multiple small donations from single donors listed in the campaign’s finance reports which violate the contribution limits when aggregated.
The Obama campaign was quick to turn the McCain camp's critical eye back onto McCain's own fund-raising. “Because of campaign finance issues, John McCain has had to return over $1.2 million to donors who potentially violated the law with their contributions," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement Sunday. "We look forward to a thorough investigation into whether John McCain’s campaign has returned all of the money it raised from foreign nationals," Burton added.
The Obama campaign also responded to the RNC's claims that it may have received some contributions prohibited by federal law. "Without accepting a dime from the Washington lobbyists or corporate PACs that have funded John McCain's campaign, our campaign has shattered fundraising records with donations from more than 2.5 million Americans. We have gone above and beyond the transparency requirements by disclosing our bundlers and the levels of contributions they raise. We constantly review our donors for any issues and while no organization is completely protected from internet fraud, we will continue to review our fundraising procedures to ensure that we are taking every available to step to root-out improper contributions,” Burton said.
(CNN) – In a unanimous decision Thursday, the Federal Election Commission granted a request from John McCain’s campaign to withdraw from a program that provides presidential candidates with matching funds during the primary season.
The Democratic National Committee filed a complaint with the FEC earlier this year after the McCain campaign announced that it was withdrawing from the primary season matching funds program, in a bid to avoid spending restrictions that would have resulted if they participated. Democrats argued that the McCain camp could not legally opt out after obtaining a $4 million line of credit using the prospect of the public matching funds as collateral, and could not unilaterally withdraw without approval from the FEC, which did not have a voting quorum for much of the year. The party also called for an FEC investigation of McCain’s campaign finances.
The McCain campaign had said that the possibility of receiving public matching funds was not in reality the collateral for the line of credit that kept the Arizona senator’s campaign afloat.
The DNC has not yet said whether they will continue to press for a federal investigation.