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. Pete in Indiana

    Perfectly ILLEGAL sounds more like it! Shame on you John McCain! SHAME ON YOU! Oh yeah, shame on Hillary too! Why? Just because!

    OBAMA '08

    April 28, 2008 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  2. BCNU purple state, usa

    More tabloid info from the Times. Is this what politics has become? Let's smear anyone with a different agenda than ours, dig up any kind of dirt.

    April 28, 2008 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  3. Kerry

    If Hillary can lend her campaign 5 million bucks with interest, then McCain can use his wifes jet.

    April 28, 2008 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  4. close hi lies piehole

    McCain we are waiting for another senior moment we all know we won't have to wait that long .
    Fly that plane back to Arizona and park it .

    April 28, 2008 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  5. close hi lies piehole

    Who is an elitist ? Come on John and fess up then people go figure that statement out with their own jet calling other people elitist perhaps he dont know meaning of elitist or another senior moment " he just forgot they own their own jet" .

    April 28, 2008 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  6. Lori

    Senator McCain used a family vehicle. No one would say a word if that vehicle had been a four-wheeler. Why would anyone take the time to criticize an individual who made the good financial decision to save money by using his family's plane rather than chartering something more expensive. Senator McCain used common sense.

    April 28, 2008 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  7. Kimberly in Texas

    McSame....do as I say, not as I do.
    And who is the elitist?

    And was is this I hear about Cindy's fondness for painkillers?
    Since we able to get in the gutter...Hamas, Wright, and all that BS.

    April 28, 2008 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  8. close hi lies piehole

    What happened to his first wife McCain was cheating on ?
    Did Cindy have a face lift with her barbie doll turtle neck outfits ?

    April 28, 2008 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  9. Independent_me

    Well, well,well!
    Do as I say, but not as I do! How elitist!
    And as he flies around in his wife's private jet he calls Obama "elitist"?
    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

    I still can't believe that I used to be a Republican!

    April 28, 2008 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  10. Wayne Messer Orange Park, FL

    Non-Issue move on.

    April 28, 2008 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  11. Ranger7

    We all know McCain is seedy!! and a follower...wo is not president material..!!

    April 28, 2008 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  12. geney

    Can someone tell me what did McCain has done to have the title of war hero should this title belong to the 40044 who has lost there lives to this usless war

    April 28, 2008 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  13. Robb

    The poor old thing has signs of dementia already. All he's qualified to do is the "help I've fallen and can't get up " commercial.

    April 28, 2008 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  14. WisconsinFirst

    It's legal, get over it!

    April 28, 2008 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  15. Nando


    April 28, 2008 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  16. Tyler

    Why should you, just becuase you are a nominee. Have to pay full charter price for a jet. If you or someone close to you owned it why shouldn't you be allowed to use it for the price they set.

    April 28, 2008 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  17. Keith

    Yes, it is all very apparent. A vote for McCain is a vote for the Republican Politburo. Remember the Politburo of the Soviet Union? Party rule is never in freedoms best interest or the peoples best interest.

    April 28, 2008 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  18. Mickey, NY

    Back to your bamboo cage McBush! No soup for you!

    April 28, 2008 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  19. Sean

    It was by the rule idiots. Can people not read on hear? Do you really want a candidate that wastes money?

    April 28, 2008 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  20. CWatson

    The Slppery Talk Express take wings ? At the pace John has been going, he's going to overtake Hillary's lead in flip-flops.

    April 28, 2008 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  21. Steve

    Please, like this is even an issue. Try all you want, liberals, but McCain will be the next president. You guys are doing such an amazing job of self-destructing that the guy doesn't even really have to campaign to beat your candidate come fall.

    April 28, 2008 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  22. Ardnuas

    FIRST he refuse to release his wife's tax returns, and NOW THIS!!!
    Voters..... Be SMART he is just like the CLINTONS..... they lie with ease!!! This man will start a WAR with Iran within his first DAY in office

    April 28, 2008 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  23. Tom Swift, Shopton USA


    What's the difference between using (and paying for) your wife's company jet... and lending $5,000,000+ to your own campaign ?


    April 28, 2008 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  24. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Let's let the Federal Election Commission decide whether Gramps McCain's use of that jey was legal – however, I suspect that it was not.

    April 28, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  25. Laura

    Who cares? This is a non-issue.

    April 28, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
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