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. Ex-republican

    "Len", with all respect, they don't know how badly they will lose in November! Cheers!

    January 9, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  2. Natalie

    Since the Supreme Court opened the way for corporations to donate like a person, we are in for a very ugly process. Why don't these corporations put their record-profits money into something useful like putting Americans back to work? They'd rather spend it to candidates that create laws that help line their corporate coffers, that's why.

    January 9, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    I agree with John Mccain and urge him to stop Romney from supporting the superpacs or even calling them his supports – he is encouraging them and in a way encouraging the system you are against.

    January 9, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  4. Hammerer

    What a joke.
    The corruption of washington worring about no transparency and no accountability by someone else? You gotta be kidding

    January 9, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  5. Jules

    That's what happens when the Supreme Court declares corporations individuals and they are given the same rights as individuals. If we don't get the money out of politics, we will not know our country.

    January 9, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  6. Jules

    How about we put some more of them there consertvatives on the Supreme Court? This is what you get.

    January 9, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  7. manhandler

    Finally, something I can agree with McCain on. There is one Supreme that more than any other in history, doesn't belong anywhere near any court....especially this court and that "Justice" is Clarence Thomas. Anita Hill knewwhat he was about. This man is a nasty, cynical disgrace.

    January 9, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  8. Dex

    The "Maverick" was slow to the draw again...no wonder he is not POTUS. Cool Hand Obama mentioned that the decision reached by the Supreme Court as it related to Citizen United was not good for the country in his last State of the Union address. If the President is reelected and Democrats win a majority...the Tea Party will take up the cause of getting rid of Super PACs. Until Super PACs don't benefit the GOP...they are here to stay.

    January 9, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  9. elgatoblanco

    Money = Freedom here in da USA. These politicians got tons of freedom.

    January 9, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  10. ObamaMama

    I agree w/ McCain for once too. But watch...he'll change his mind again when it's not someone peeing on his wheaties, but instead donating to HIS candidate. We need to end the "America for Sale to the Highest Bidder" circus in this country and stop corporate contributions for ALL politicians, make the super pacs illegal.

    January 9, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  11. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    thanks to the SCOTUS and their right wing leaning. The sooner this decision can be overturned, IF it can be, the better. The 2010 election showed how much money can be used to buy an election and look at how that turned out. We might even had foriegn donors and could not prove it.

    January 9, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  12. Hair bear

    Well he should no, it was ok when he was running and he used them! The GOP is desperate for ah win they can't get it the honest and legal way, so there gonna cheat! They just have to remember No Justice No Peace!

    January 9, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  13. Sorensen

    Senator McCain is absolutely correct. The real problem – of course – is the ultra right wing majority of the so-called
    "supreme" court. They are totally out of touch with regular people and becoming a serious danger for democracy and
    reputation of the USA. And the real problem is that most of them have no idea how potentially disastrous their behaviour
    is.

    January 9, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  14. Paulo

    Where were you John as a leader of the republicans when this abortion was pitched? This is strictly a republican big money effort and not one GOP had the balls to stop it when it mattered.

    January 9, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  15. Pedron

    Sir!!!I can't agree with you more and that's why we have and we need occupy wall street making some noise about it because the Supreme Court Judges are not fair and just!! they pay homage to their respective parties instead of interpreting the law!!

    January 9, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  16. dustin

    And yet he's endorsed Romney who "has" his very own SuperPAC...

    January 9, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  17. mk1

    Our system was already corrupt before the legalization of these super PACs by the supreme court. This new legality simply means even more money will be funneled into the political system anonymously which means corruption will be even more blatant by now it is all legal. What an obscene system we have allowed to be created.
    I agree with Len, this is exactly the system the GOP wants as this gives them a tremendous advantage as corporate money goes extremely heavily to them. Don't even start on the union money as they can not even begin to match what corporate America can muster in terms of money, it isn't even close. The GOP can not win on their ideas so their only way to victory is to buy it and they have the monied interests to do it.

    January 9, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  18. d

    They are already bad news we all know this...and have known it for some time...to bad our justices dont see it...

    January 9, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  19. susan

    wait for a few seconds, he will say otherwise.

    January 9, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  20. catmomtx

    Republicans wanted this after President Obama showed he could raise a ton of money from average people. They thwarted Democratic attempts to even make the contributations transparent. Now when it is working against them, they want to whine about it. I'm sure though as soon as those PACS start going after President Obama all will be well.

    January 9, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  21. Aaron

    Wow, look who had a moment of lucidity.

    January 9, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  22. steven mandeville

    Super packs r making the election of public officials all about the money and who runs the the most dirt on another human being romney will pay in eternity

    January 9, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  23. steven mandeville

    Super packs r making the election of public officials all about the money and who runs the the most dirt on another human being god always wins

    January 9, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  24. Wow

    McCain is finally breaking from the party line. Amazing and I agree that this is one of the worst, if not THE worst, Supreme Court decisions... EVER.

    January 9, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  25. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    We need to get money out of politics as much as possible. We can't have money equal poltical speech because that would mean that some people have more speech than others which isn't proper.

    January 9, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
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