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. Jonathan

    I agree with charlotte.

    You cannot blame Senator McCain for saving money. He is a smart man and will be the next President regardless of who the Democrats nominate.

    April 27, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  2. Relevant

    This man has no chance of winning the election, no matter who the Democrats choose as their candidate.

    April 27, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  3. Susan

    So, is this going to be part of his publicly financed campaign?

    More GOP hypocrisy. What's the news here?

    April 27, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  4. John Elite McCain

    Wow- once again McCain shows how he is different than everyday people. How can we expect him to see and believe what is important to Americans? One more example of how close he is to corporate america.

    April 27, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  5. DWB

    McCain thought no one would catch him flying free on his wife's jet / What else should we know about him . Everyday there is somethin new with McCain . He is not the same person that he was when he ran against Bush in 2000. Why does Cindi always look depressed or angry at McCain ? She does not look like a happy person . Why does she look and dress like the Barbi doll ? Strange

    April 27, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  6. Intelligent In CA For Obama

    Mr. McCain please go away and take your wife with you! You and your republican buddy Hillary will NEVER receive the vote of intelligent people who can think for themselves. You are an adulterer and I will NEVER respect you on that basis alone or vote for you!

    April 27, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  7. Unshrub

    Maybe it was legal, but it was a loop-hole that allowed McCain to circumvent the law. What about his violation of the campaign financing laws he did violate by first accepting and then rejecting funds for the primary. THAT WAS A VIOLATION OF THE LAW.

    April 27, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  8. Steve

    Let's see, John McCain says that Sen. Obama is insensitive to the plight of poor people? His hubris is, at once laughable and pathetic.

    April 27, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  9. Stop playing Wright

    Please stop playing Wright. You have to know this is hurting Obama. You have to know this is hurting Democrats. For once, do your usual biased reporting. I would never vote for Obama and even I say.. please stop. It is just so sad.

    April 27, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  10. Mirta

    Big deal....it is like using her car.

    Hillary or McCain...NOBama!!!!

    April 27, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  11. 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 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  12. Lisa GA

    Already scheming? Can't even wait..... MCINSANE... NOOOOOOOOO....

    April 27, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  13. April Campbell

    It may be perfectly legal, but it's also perfectly wrong.

    April 27, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  14. Kurt Cusanovich

    Okay all you people who say "Good for McCain", if this was Hilary or Obama what would you being saying now?

    There's a word for that: "Hypocrite"

    April 27, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  15. Katrina Spivek

    I would like to know as McCain "brushes" this off if he will also "brush" off the issues that may or may not arise from his rivals.

    April 27, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  16. Pam

    Hmmmm...who's the elitist now?

    April 27, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  17. why worry

    thank you cnn

    April 27, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  18. why worry

    cnn do you have a $billion suit coming up? Now moderate me all the way

    April 27, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  19. Monica, Texas


    The only reason McCain has not spent more $$$$ is becasue he has raised less $$$$ than Obama. It's not about honesty it's the number of folks that have contributed to each of their campaign.

    April 27, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  20. why worry

    cnn you are without a doubt the worse political network

    April 27, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  21. Undecided in PA

    His wife's company plane, that sounds pretty elite and out of touch to me!

    April 27, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  22. s.positive


    April 27, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  23. Jeff

    Hey Shaun, refer to the comment above you, only in reverse.

    April 27, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  24. sophia nyc

    Just retire old man.

    April 28, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  25. Tom, Atlanta

    Grandpa McCain makes the rules, we have to get used to that.

    April 28, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
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