February 21st, 2008
12:00 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain faces potential FEC dilemma

(CNN) - Likely Republican nominee John McCain – who has tangled with potential Democratic rival Barack Obama over public financing of their general election campaigns – was told by the Federal Election Commission Thursday that his own bid to withdraw from the primary season version of that system may have hit some roadblocks.

The February 19 letter, which was released by the commission Thursday, comes several weeks after the Arizona senator’s campaign thought he had withdrawn from that system and the spending limits it imposes.

The FEC said in the letter to McCain’s campaign released Thursday that there were two issues preventing them from accepting that request.

The commission needs to vote on his application – but a battle between President Bush and Congress over potential FEC nominees means they have not had the quorum needed to decide on such a request so far this year.

They also say they want to learn more about a loan McCain received where potential payouts to come under the public financing system may have been used as collateral.

The McCain team has insisted that its existing request was never part of the terms of the loan, merely the possibility of future payouts – but in its letter, the FEC asks the campaign to provide more information about the terms of that agreement before it rules on whether or not McCain will be required to remain within the federal financing system.

If his withdrawal is denied, then McCain may have already spent more on his presidential bid than is allowed under FEC guidelines, and would not be able to spend more until he receives his party’s nomination this summer.

Related: FEC chair: McCain can't drop out of  public financing system

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Darryl M

    What a tangle web we weave, when John McCain try to decieve.

    This just a example of what we can expect if he's elected as President.

    February 21, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Chris

    I'm certain McCain has accused Obama and Clinton of things in this matter. He is, just put frankly, a hypocrite. Just like politics. Execpt Obama. I've been reading his book lately. He has some good ideas about poitics. For example, Money issues...

    February 21, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. kevin

    This is the experienced candidate?

    February 21, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. support

    leave the men alone please........

    hillary for president 09

    February 21, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Bill, Manhattan, NYC

    I did not believe but now the Washingtom Post is naming the sources and dynamics. This thing does have some credibility.

    February 21, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    If Senator McCain cannot appoint competent people to his campaign finance staff, then how can we expect him, as president, to pick a competent Cabinet?

    I will be very interested in seeing how this plays out as John McCain is my current choice for president. (Hint: If Huckabee get the GOP nod, I am voting Democratic ... whoever it is.)

    I also find it ironic that George Bush's refusal to compromise with Congress over FEC nominations could potentially damage the GOP primary process.

    February 21, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  7. Thimbletack

    I smell a skunk in the road and a Huckabee win at the Convention.

    February 21, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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