April 28th, 2008
09:31 AM ET
13 years ago

McCain: 'What we did was perfectly legal and appropriate'


Sen. McCain was joined by his wife, Cindy, at a Florida press conference Sunday. (AP Photo)

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, didn't waste a lot of verbiage reacting to the New York Times report on his use of a private jet belonging to his wife's company for campaign trips - at less cost than normal charter flights

At a news conference in Coral Gables, Florida, McCain used just eight words to respond to a reporter's question before moving on. "What we did was perfectly legal and appropriate," McCain said. The Arizona senator didn't answer the part of the reporter's question about whether the use of plane contradicted McCain's stance on campaign finance reform.

There is nothing illegal about what McCain did. Under a law which McCain supported, presidential candidates are now required to pay charter rates rather than just less expensive commercial first class rates when they use corporate jets. But under an FEC exemption, candidates don't have TO reimburse full costs if the plane is owned BY a candidate, a candidate's family, or by a privately held company controlled by a candidate or a candidate's family member. (The FEC has tried to end the family exemption, but didn't have enough sitting commissioners to change the rule, according to the Times report.)

The Times story said McCain used the jet over a 7-month period starting last summer, mostly for campaign trips. The campaign paid $241,149 for the trips.far less than the cost for normal charter trips.

Why are some raising questions over it? The Times reported some campaign finance experts said using the exemption goes against the spirit of the new law, and McCain has championed campaign finance reform. McCain had also said he didn't plan to use his wife's wealth to help with the campaign last summer.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (330 Responses)
  1. Joe from Nebraska

    the mccain logo reminds me of the worldcom logo

    April 27, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  2. Marie in California

    Much ado about nothing.

    April 27, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  3. Tunde

    There are a host of things that are legal but unethical. The elite don't like to be questioned when they violate the spirit of the law. Thus, they say things like it's perfectly legal.

    April 27, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  4. Walter, Long Beach

    Seems to me this link to the campaign makes Mrs. McCain's finances a legitimate point of discussion. Therefore, her tax returns should be released to the public as have those of the other candidates AND their spouses.

    But I don't expect the media lap-dogs to press him on it. After all, he's a 'hero' so anything goes!

    April 27, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  5. spinners

    Get rid of the surrgogates and lets debate.

    April 27, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  6. david

    and this is news how? Give me a break. the law is the law and it say it is okay. So why the big fuss. You all are acting as if he took free flights from Rev.Wright.

    April 27, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  7. Slowpoke

    McCain looks like a rock star in this picture.

    April 27, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  8. bill pike

    AND obama is talking bad about the poor people. they just plane don't get it.

    April 27, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  9. Grif

    When you use the family car, to take the kids to school. Only DIctator's are homing in on this??? John McCain.... John McCain, was just useing the Family Car. Maybe he can help some other, get a little More Education...

    April 27, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  10. Carl Sloan

    He made these comments at the Biltmore in Miami and he claims that Obama is "out of touch" with ordinary Americans? Oh, the irony is killing me...

    April 27, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  11. Franky

    Do you know what I'm waiting??? To be honest, Senator McCain has not gotten that point where he has REALLY got upset. As a matter of fact, he has showed signs of frustration and exasperation but trust me, one day he's gonna have a day where the pressure is just burning.....I'm just waiting for that day.

    April 27, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  12. Ratgurl

    Even Cindy looks like she doesn't believe him!!!

    April 27, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  13. Grant

    YAWN, who cares!!!! Geez, must be a really slow news day, or does McCain have it soooooo easy nowadays?

    You could fill the NYT from front page to back page from all the financial shenanigans the Clintons have used.....

    April 27, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  14. Allen In NC

    If the jet good enought for her then it's good enough for me.....

    April 27, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  15. Keith Smith

    Hypocrite. The Capitol has been McCain's private Mount Olympia. Although he moved to switch parties twice in the last 8 years, he left the Republican party long ago.

    April 27, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  16. Ron L

    Senator McCann is an OLD-SCHOOL politician JUST LIKE Hillary. He tries to play both sides of the fence and from time to time and he gets caught!!! He will make an average President...WE NEED MUCH MORE...

    He along with Hillary is the PAST..Senator Obama is the FUTURE...it REALLY is that simple..

    April 27, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  17. Allen In NC

    I like the way she's looking at him...... Lier!... Can you see it? 🙂

    April 27, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  18. American


    April 27, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  19. Kathy

    It's sad that McCain and Hillary go out of their way to paint Obama as an elitist.

    McCain and Hillary are the epitome of Rich Aristocrats, tied to power.

    April 27, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  20. Jerry

    kind of like the keating five?

    April 27, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  21. Juan Grain

    It does not matter, McCain even knows that Barack Obama is going to be the next President of the United States. And if he has any doubts, all he has to do is ask Chris Wallace 😉

    April 27, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  22. chris isner

    good luck trying to get away with that sort of response after Obama wins the nomination. then again, with slow news until may 6, maybe the press will rip him.

    April 27, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  23. wwake-New York

    Can you spell flip-flop. If this was Obama he would be called a fraud! They say their finances are separate "for tax reasons" then he shouldn't be allowed to use her money for the campaign! I wonder if there will be a double standard here.

    April 27, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  24. Never ever support Obama

    New York times rating is now 0 So now the time for us ignore NYT
    Hillary 08

    April 27, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  25. American

    ==Lets air the dirty laundry from all members of Congress, including the Chimp, and his master so "Our Government of the people can for once be cleansed.==

    April 27, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
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