McCain: Super PACs will result in scandal, corruption
January 9th, 2012
05:35 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain: Super PACs will result in scandal, corruption

(CNN) – Republican Sen. John McCain on Monday blasted the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling that eventually paved the way for the rise of super PACs, blaming it for the election cycle's increasing ad wars.

"Now it's the system under which we operate, which leads to this kind of campaigning and will lead to corruption and scandals. I guarantee it." McCain said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

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In the 2010 "Citizens United" case, the Supreme Court made it legal for groups to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money for a candidate, as long as the group does not coordinate with the candidate or contributed directly to his or her campaign.

Calling it the "worst decision in the last 50 years," McCain said the Supreme Court "basically unleashed–without transparency and without accountability–huge amounts of money from these so-called 'independent campaigns'."

His remarks follow announcements Monday of multi-million dollar ad buys in South Carolina from groups supporting Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

The group that backs Gingrich, "Winning our Future," is expected to run aggressive ads against Romney's record, ahead of South Carolina's first-in-the-South primary on Jan. 21.

The move comes after the pro-Romney group, "Restore our Future," pursued a similar tactic against Gingrich in Iowa before the state's caucuses last week.

But McCain, who recently threw his support behind Romney, said he's not worried about the upcoming ad campaign against the former Massachusetts governor.

The 2008 Republican presidential nominee also warned against Gingrich's new campaign strategy, which aims to draw sharp contrasts between his record and that of Romney.

"But, look, I lost my general election campaign, so I'm a little bit reluctant to tell people how they should campaign," McCain said.

Also see:

Santorum to South Carolina: 'Step up'

Romney feared being fired

Paul looking forward to South Carolina, caucus states

Perry makes play for Christian voters in South Carolina

Democrats maintain focus on Romney

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Filed under: 2012 • Fundraising • John McCain • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. tew

    Duhhhh! That's exactly what Prez Obama stated during this first State of the Union when Justice Roberts disagreeded. Seems like the truth has no validity unless a Republican states it. C'mon folks!! Prez Obama only person who has the back of the people and their best interest at heart.

    January 10, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  2. Marry

    It is not only the super Pac that sets the election process into a tumble, it is the whole system of lots of hype, no substance, and big money. Money and ridiculous rules that makes a complete mockery of our Democracy!

    January 10, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  3. Rightwing Supreme Court is too extreme for the USA

    The Democrats warned the danger of "Citizen Untied", it will turn our democracy into a scandel riddle wasteland. The GOP hail the decision as a victory for free speech. Now the GOP are eating their own with superpacs. When the GOP loose this election in 2012, they will screaming about this horrible "Citizen United" that keep letting Democrats win.

    January 10, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  4. Publius Novus

    This, of course, is undeniably true. The SCOTUS' assumptions underlying the Citizens United decision are naive.

    January 10, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  5. Just a thought

    sorry Mr. President....I meant to say; least HE DIDN'T mess it up (or make it worse), like his predecessor.

    January 10, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  6. scottf

    We can thank the Supreme Court for this. Corporations are people. When is the last time you saw a corporation serving in the armed forces? or put in jail for theft?

    January 10, 2012 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  7. craig

    He's right! This might prove the old adage that everything has it's price, even the Presidency.

    January 10, 2012 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  8. rsubber

    That's the problem with unlimited personal and organization and corporate spending on political campaigns. It distorts and destroys the American ideal of "one man, one vote" because it greases the campaigns and facilitates the success of ideologically driven and ideologically enthralled candidates. It greases the campaigns and contributes to the success of candidates who are willing to take a lot of money from a few peopleā€”is their motive hard to figure out? Is it hard to figure out who they represent?
    See more comments on my blog: Barley Literate by Rick Subber

    January 10, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  9. LegendRx

    The free enterprise justification spin . . . . And the winner is greed over people, ding, ding ding!

    January 10, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  10. Joan

    Wasn't it the Republican Supreme Court justices who passed this ruling? They wanted the Republicans to benefit from the vast amount of money their backers have. They didn't seem to care about the ramifications of such a ruling. It has diminished the role of regular voters in deciding the outcome of elections and has given way too much power to huge corporations and anonymous donors . In this case it has kind of backfired on the Republicans because it has allowed these huge organizations to run very critical and damaging ads on so many of the candidates which will give the Democrats lots of sound bites for their campaign and it is causing the Republicans to eat their own in an unprecended way. Sen. McCain is exactly correct. The whole thing is undermining the core of democracy.

    January 10, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  11. Mike

    I agree! Why say that now after you and the rest of the GOP haters blasted Obama for ripping the SCOTUS over the Citizens United decision a few years ago that allowed these Super PAC's. Corperations are not people too! And you sir should have stood beside our Presidend and said so!

    January 10, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |

    Good for mcCain. He's got a good head in this case. he could be the salvation of the greedy and anti-middle class GOPTP.

    January 10, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  13. Voice of Reason

    Obama said he plans to raise $1 billion in campaign money. Is there any doubt that the people giving this money want political favors? He has taken the most money in history from Wall Street....hmmmmm, I'd say Obama is clearly in the pocket of the so called 1%ers.

    January 10, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  14. Larry in Houston

    To be perfectly honest, I don't care much for McCain, and didn't Vote for him – but he's spot ON, on this issue !
    I really Hate to Vote for Obama again, and I really mean it. But if there was somebody ELSE out there, that was a 1/2 way decent person that is for this country, I would Vote for him or her, in a heartbeat ! Too bad Ron Paul isn't going to get past Florida, otherwise, if he was on the ticket in November, I would Vote for him. The Jewish Vote is going to "kill" Ron Paul in Florida.

    January 10, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. M

    I wish there were more moderate Republicans like McCain. Congress might be able to get something done.

    January 10, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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