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

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

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

    wow...I agree with a republican......

    January 9, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Rick

    Except for Stephen Colbert's SuperPAC, which is 100% truthiness.

    January 9, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. diridi

    .........................from GOP idiots, because they know how to manipulate. Watch Florida on next election, lot of rigging like any third world. Obama2012.

    January 9, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. Len

    I agree. That what happens when the GOP wants to win so badly.

    January 9, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. David

    This surprises me...a Republican blasting the decision made by a VERY conservative court. It isn't often, but McCain is right on this one.

    January 9, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. Wiley

    It has transparency after elections occur and the records are unsealed. There is some merit to that so the Chicago Obama Mob cannot trash companies or big donors that want real change during the election. I am sure there will be plenty of ugliness associated with it but thats politics. On top of that most people I know would say if McCain is against anything there must be merit to it.

    January 9, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. R

    "Watch Florida on next election, lot of rigging like any third world."

    Again, I would love to see what kind of proof supports your statement.

    January 9, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Supreme Court "basically unleashed–without transparency and without accountability–huge amounts of money from these so-called 'independent campaigns'."
    I agree with McCain. This was in effect one of the worst decisions the Sepreme Court has ever reached. I would go as far as to say that said decision clearly reflected how deeply ingrained in our political system Big Business is; and how deep in the pocket of same some of these so-called "civil-servants" are.
    We are just experiencing the beginning of Big Business unleashed.They are fighting against the very Change that President Obama proposes to bring about in terms of regulations, and other checks and balances for these corporations. They will fight hard and dirty getting their practice licks in now.
    In light of the fact that they cannot find anything to pin on President Obama they will undoubtedly resort to lies and distortions of his birth,record,and anyting else they can come up with. After all,their candidate has been given an "out" by the Supreme Court by being able to disavow all knowledge as to their activities.
    Brace yourselves fellow Americans, you think the Birthers were extremist nutjobs....

    January 9, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Linda

    Thank you John McCain. I rarely agree with you but I admire your truthfulness about what has happened to our great democracy! It is ridiculous that millions maybe billions of dollars will be poured into often untruthful slimy campaign ads and that there is no limit to how much these PAC's can donate and they can remain unknown. This Supreme Court basically destroyed our democracy. When Reagan and Carter ran, they only spent the dollars that the American public donated on their tax returns. Now it is ridiculous and of course, news owners love it as they make the money so they are rarely going to report on it as a negative. I suspect the candidates that they know have the most money behind them get preferential coverage as well. It is all such a sad commentary on American politics.

    January 9, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  10. Mikey

    That ruling came from our conservative activist Supreme Court. I am glad that McCain has caught up with President Obama on this one. It was one of the worst Supreme Court rulings of all time.

    January 9, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    OR -- maybe they will expose the truth that the republicans have hidden from us for so many decades. We'll see.

    January 9, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  12. rs

    McCain is correct here. The big money must get stripped from politics if we are ever to have contol over our politics and our politicians. Citizens United must be overturned.

    January 9, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  13. el-gordo

    Well John, for once I can say I agree with something you said, (the very first time)
    Now the big question is: WHAT are YOU going to do about it?????Are you just going to talk to the cameras and make it look like you care, or you actually going to propose some honest and serious legislation on campaign finance reform?
    Figuring out how to keep our self serving "public servants" from getting their hands on these huge wads of free money,, Good luck, and send us a post card from Siberia after your Senate and Congress buddies bundle you in a sack and load you on a steamer heading to asia.
    Campain Finance Reform is needed and will never happen, just too many greased palms in Washington, on both sides of the political spectrum.

    January 9, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. Myth Romney Million$$$ and his Super PACs Thug Could ONLY Buy him 8 extra Votes

    McSame just endorsed Myth Romney....the GODFATHER of SUPER PACs THUGS!

    the odor of Hypocrisy!!!!

    January 9, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. MartiM, Plano

    He agrees with President Obama on this..........;-)

    January 9, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  16. Obama Cares

    Blame it on the right-wing supreme court appointees. HaHaHa.

    January 9, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  17. David in Denver

    McCain is right about this. I do think the Citizens United case is a problem for campaigns in this country. The challenge is limiting big dollar spending and still respecting 1st amendment guarantees. This is actually a problem for both parties.

    January 9, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  18. strangerq

    ^ Agree. GOP still view Obama's election as the apocalypse and will do anything to stop him.

    January 9, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  19. Kenny K

    Well, GOPs like it when the conservative leaning Supreme Court approved Super PAC hoping it will work for them during elections, until they realize that it can be used against them too.

    January 9, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  20. Keith

    Thanks for speaking up John, but next time why don't you tell us something we don't know. Like the earth is round, or the sky is blue...

    January 9, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. Jane

    First and only time I'll ever agree with this person. McCain trivia for anyone who's interested: I actually received Sen. McCain's POW bracelet back when the program was running. The idea was to wear it in support and return it to the person when they came home. So, when McCain was released to much hoopla, I sent him the bracelet with a short note. Never heard a word back. Not even a frigging boilerplate thank you letter. I thought this was very revealing re: the person's character. Meh..

    January 9, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  22. HenryB

    What a great comment by McCain. He rails against "Citizens United" and then goes to support Romney who "uses" exactly the Super PACS you argue against. You are a has-been. Go home to Arizona and work with Arpaio.

    January 9, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  23. SecedingfromTexas

    So, President Obama was right when he criticized the ruling in his 2010 State of the Union Speech. You know, the
    one that caused Justice Alito to shake his head "no" so vigorously, and Chief Justice Roberts to whine that they
    don't need to hear criticism and maybe shouldn't attend another State of Union Speech. Now Gingrich is
    belly-aching, and John McCain thinks it is the "worst ruling in 50 years"?? Well, change it Buster, like
    the President said should be done during his speech.
    While your at it, how about Clarence Thomas refusing to recuse himself from the health care hearing, even
    though his wife was paid $1.6M to lobby against it, and they "forgot" to report the income. Justice Sotomayor
    recused herself for what she perceived to be a conflict of interest. Not so, this jerk and Chief Justice Roberts
    defend his decision. From clown cars to looney tunes.

    January 9, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  24. GonzoinHouston

    McCain's right on this one. There is going to be some kind of scandal in the future. Nobody throws this kind of money without expecting something substantial in return.

    January 9, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    The REPUBLICAN activists on the Supreme court did it. Put their friends in a bind.

    January 9, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
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