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. probabilityzero

    While not technically illegal, it's still arguably immoral and goes against what McCain generally claims to stand for.

    April 27, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  2. Mike in Seattle

    If this is the best dirt the NYT can throw at McCain he is going to have a cakewalk to the White House!

    April 27, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  3. Ron, Racine, Wisconsin

    Obviously John McCain uses the system as much as anyone, but wants us to believe that he is mister ethical. He's conforming himself to be more acceptible to Republicans because his main goal, as it's always been, is to be president.

    April 27, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  4. A poor taxpayer, Corning OH

    Your vote to invade another country was legal, also. Was it right?

    April 27, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |

    Cant believe the speech by Obama's former pastor...Now for sure I will not vote for him...go Mccain!!!

    April 27, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  6. JOHN


    April 27, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  7. jeremy

    Shame! Shame, i am sure there is going to be more coming our way Johnny me Boy, Skeletons always love coming out of the closet...This is just a premier of what were going to find out! bwah ha HA

    April 27, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  8. Joe - CA

    "I can't afford a plane ticket, so I took my wife's private plane". WHAT?

    April 27, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  9. yo yo

    yo yo yo

    April 27, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. Robert, Detroit, MI

    If he wants to sponge off his wife, why not?

    April 27, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  11. Ike DeLong

    McBush has spoken!!
    The truth ain't in you, or your party!

    April 27, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. Kris from AZ

    This is truly pethetic. I am a democrat and think this is stupid. Issues poeple not stuff like this..the difference in stances are what is being debated not how he gets from point A to point B. come on..............

    April 27, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  13. paul oregon

    sounds like a clinton mccain-bush expanation

    April 27, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  14. Eric Thornley

    Do we really want this guy as president? I don't. Another conservative hypocrite.

    April 27, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  15. ck

    Unlike Hillary, who is in debt and probably will stiff her campaign employees while she goes home to her 109 million. LOL

    Report on news that matters please.

    April 27, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  16. Mike N

    Lotsa things are legal – but not necessarily "prudent."

    April 27, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  17. Gino

    Do as I say not as I do.

    April 27, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  18. Darryl

    Like Senator Clinton, Senator John McCain both broke the FEC election law owever, the news will not report this......

    Why is that?

    April 27, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  19. buffalo

    Pure Hypocracy at its best. Mcshame.

    April 27, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  20. former hillary supporter


    mccain a man for the people? not unless you are very, very rich.

    April 27, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  21. Roberto

    Trust McCain at your peril.

    April 27, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  22. Binh

    Is this surprising? No. So much for straight talk! Not that I blame him though. Why not take advantage of marrying into wealth and spending Barbie's money?

    April 27, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  23. Tam

    I don't know about you Cindy McCain is proud to be a America that can skirt around laws. Know whose the elicits.

    April 27, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  24. lou

    Sounds like typical old style Washington Double talk. Please turn the page on the old guard. Clinton /mccain are the past. Obama is our bridge to the future and back to a Booming Country.

    April 27, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  25. Tanya Kujath

    He is another example of the POOR leadership that we have with bush. One rule for him and another for others. Hillary or Obama, Democrats unite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 27, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
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