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. ThinkAgain

    He's right. Chief Justice John Roberts should be impeached for lying under oath during his confirmation hearings when he said he'd follow precedence when ruling. The Citizens United case overturns 100 years of legal precedence. Roberts also brought the case before the Court, basically TRYING to get a favorable ruling for the Citizens United plaintiffs.

    Folks, this is why President Obama must win in 2012, along with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. If a Republican is elected POTUS, we can expect more and more of these kinds of "laws" that favor corporate interests over everything, along with a disappearance of privacy in the most personal matters (birth control, a woman's right to choose, not only whom you can marry, but whom you can sleep with, etc., etc., etc.).

    January 9, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. John Herzog

    Today, Newt Gingrich, John McCain, and Mitt Romney have all slammed Super Pacs.....where were they when Alioto, and the other "conservative" justices were put on the court by Bush. This "conservative" group has taken independent voting rights away from citizens, without predudice, with their cowardly refusal of campaign finance reform. Money wins every time, especially in the eye of the "true conservative"..........

    January 9, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  3. alice sophia

    And yet Mc Cain backs up the candidate with the biggest PAC?

    January 9, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. insight iowa

    I agree witchiepoo... Never thought I would this season!! LOL

    This Republican voting Straight Dem Ticket 2012.

    January 9, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. Larry L

    He can thank the Republican Supreme Court – the lap-dogs for the rich.

    January 9, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  6. Michael Q

    Which judges ruled in favour of this? Were they appointed by which political administration: Clinton, Bush or whose White House????? What was the vote? 5-4? 9-0? And lastly, did McCain agree or object to their appointments?

    January 9, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. Jilli

    I think I can speak for most democrats on this...Mr. McCain, we told you so.

    Not such a great idea when our elections are bought and sold, huh? Well, at least you finally figured it out – better late than never.

    January 9, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  8. Rob1961

    Careful John. You agreed with President Obama. Don"t like conservative judicial activism. Finally at least one Republican on one issue isn't a hypocrite.

    January 9, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. salsa1877

    Hypocrisy at its finest. This from the man that endorsed the candidate with the largest super PAC in the race.

    January 9, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  10. Vivitar

    Duhh, you think? and it took you 2 years to realize this! ...Ok, sorry for the harsh tone. We welcome you into the light. Now that your eyes are open, look around and you won't find many supreme court justices here (in the warm light of wisdom)

    January 9, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    Yep – it will result in scandal and corruption BEING EXPOSED.

    January 9, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  12. Thomas

    The McCain-Feingold bill was a piece of US legislation that attempted to reform campaign financing. Though the McCain-Feingold...

    Who voted it down , Dem or Reb ?

    Didn't Justice Samuel Alito say Pacs are people too ?

    January 9, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. vic , nashville ,tn

    Obama and democrats told this one year back. Republicans likee the Super PAC then

    January 9, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  14. Mike

    Its funny that the Republicans are now complaining about this when they were behind this regulation and the court ruling all along. I guess they never anticipated it back-firing on them.

    January 9, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    He won't think it's so bad when they start in on President Obama. Mark my word.

    January 9, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  16. CorporationsRPeople2

    I agree with McCain on this one completely. Many supported this craziness because they thought it would support their side of the aisle. It's going to hurt everybody (except maybe the rich folks pulling the strings).

    January 9, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    The "fixed" the supreme court, now the supreme court has fixed them. ha ha ha ha ha

    January 9, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  18. Marianne Atkins

    Isn't this a little late in coming? The Citizens United decision is so last year. Like a full year ago - plenty of time to introduce to have introduced some sort of legislation to correct the problem. And wasn't McCain against campaign finance reform before he was for it (before he was against it, before he was for it)...?

    January 9, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  19. Grow up already...

    Wow!! Congratulation Captain Obvious!!

    January 9, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. racegirl1

    Well GOP the supreme teapub five gave you this gift that keeps on giving. I hope it get tied around your ankles and hold you down for many election cycles to come.

    January 9, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  21. CBR

    Senator McCain is correct. We are already seeing this in Iowa and New Hampshire. Mr. Romney's PAC has put out some very controversial ads about Mr. Romney's opponents. Mr. Romney denies any knowledge but.....

    January 9, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  22. Keith A. Sillsbury

    I I too once was against superpacs but after seeing how evenly the money is flowing from the top to the bottom in support of all the unqualified gop candidates, I'm loving it. Ron Paul is the only one who even has a chance at the white house but all the trash talking will slow his support. One thing for sure is that none of them will have any secrets left. tear'em up superpacs.

    January 9, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  23. John

    I think he meant "More" scandal and "More" corruption.....

    January 9, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  24. Voice of Reason

    The old McCain is back. The one from before the 2008 election. The one who spoke his mind and doesnt care if he's giving the finger to the GOP establishment. The one that made sense.

    The 'Citzens United' case has done and will do more harm to this country than any other single case the US Supreme Court has handed down in a lifetime, bar none.

    January 9, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  25. Dan5404

    McCain is exactly right. It is the most egregious right-wing ruling since the Florida court gave Bush his election. To have unlimited and unidentified campaign donationsand advertising from the 1% crowd is guaranteeing that big money and lobbyists will continue to sway elections through half-truths, exaggerations and downright lies. Next, Justice Thomas will not recuse himself and vote down Affordable Health Care so that his wife, who was a paid opponent and activist against the bill, will not make him sleep on the couch.

    January 9, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
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