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. Toiletsnake

    It would be nice if this article contained the reporter's question.

    I hope the admission was an accident.

    April 27, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. HH

    More straight talk.

    I think all the wheels fell off of the bus and is riding on the rims.

    This is turning into the second coming of Bob Dole himself.

    All John didnt accomplish yet is falling off of a stage and looking like a fool when you dont get up after 30 seconds.

    April 27, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. Tony

    For Pete's sake, so what? I know this will get all the Republican haters agitated and making crappy little statments, but it's legal, folks, pure and simple. Move on.

    April 27, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  4. paul

    As an Obama (originally Biden) supporter I don't have any problem with this. Let's talk about the real issues that matter.

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

    Sure. Hypocrite alert.

    April 27, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  6. onecandidate

    Will the Times investigate what his campaign and the Nevada GOP did to thier own convention yesterday? They knew they had lost the delagates to the real conservative Republicans & the Ron Paul campaign, so they closed the convention, and rescheduled it. They needed a closed convention to ensure they wouldn't lose the whole state to the people.

    Hell I bet CNN won't even report on the Nevada Convention.

    MSM is destroying this country by not reporting the truth.

    April 27, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  7. Pat Va

    McCain (and McCainites)...you're going to find many, many, MANY more questions of this nature when what you've said does not add up to what you've done.

    Stay tuned for more McCain stumbles and bumbles along the way! He's already made a pretty good start of it.

    April 27, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  8. RT in Toronto

    Oh I get it now...and Obama is the elitist....what a joke. I guess Hillary and McCain have a definition of elitist that must not include being whitebread multimillionaires who use the rules hey proclaimed but includes others not of their kind.

    April 27, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  9. Grif

    Boy! When I think about the iresponsible people, who waste fuel. Just to break some stupid Record, Dream. Waste thousands, and Public Money Looking for these Idiot's... John McCain Paid his own Gas Bill...

    April 27, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. Mary

    Wow, John McCain is almost as good a liar as Hillary!

    April 27, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  11. Don Hiller

    Since when does the NYT have a solid basis for determining what is ethical???

    April 27, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  12. Philip

    Just because it was legal doesn't mean it was right.

    April 27, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. Philip

    Just because it was legal doesn't mean it was ethical.

    April 27, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  14. tango

    McCain is trying to out smart the system. In same breath accusing Obama for being insensitive to the poor for objecting to McCain's so called gas tax holiday?? Hello? what is his plane running on if not fuel? hot air? like him?

    April 27, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  15. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Wow – maybe a way for the little people to get a tax break – elect him and make him use his wife's private jet !

    April 27, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    What could one expect from somebody like McCain. Nothing about him has changed and it won't.

    April 27, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  17. Ann, MI

    I can't wait for more of this stuff to come out in the general election.

    I used to like Senator McCain because he seemed so different than the Washington power elite, but he has obviously sold his soul to get the Republican machine behind him.

    What happened to the Straight Talk Express?

    April 27, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  18. Jack

    Looks like John knows all the loop holes and intends to use them since he was instrumental in creating the loopholes as a Senator.

    John McCain is just another "Bush" league politician and he can't be trusted.

    April 27, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  19. Kim

    No no no. McLame is a warmonger with no economic expertise. But he is not a crook.

    April 27, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  20. Steve, Lyons, CO

    Sure thing, Greasy John, you just keep pretending you're not another corporate thug.

    April 27, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. KW

    In my experience, whenever someone points out that what they did was "perfectly" legal, they forget to point out how it was so borderline......or even so 'completely' unethical.

    Which is exactly why they have to point out that it was so "perfectly" legal.

    April 27, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  22. CA

    When you have to plead "It was perfectly legal!" it's usually a sign you're on the wrong track.

    April 27, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. DL

    How is this even a story?

    The only positive point I can see to CNN paying attention to this non-issue is that at least CNN is now acknowledging that there is a nominee for president other than Clinton and Obama.

    April 27, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  24. Zack S

    Well, you are quite the elitist, aren't you, Sen. McCain?

    April 27, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  25. Anon

    This is the most poorly set up and poorly phrased story in the history of news. Way to go, CNN.

    April 27, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
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