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February 25, 2008

McCain's Campaign Finance Problem

Forget about Iseman. McCain's real problem this spring is going to be the campaign finance maze he finds himself in. The short version of the facts goes like this:

McCain, needing money this summer, applied for and qualified to take federal matching funds from the FEC. Authorization to disperse that money was approved at the FEC's last meeting in December. None of that money has been paid to McCain yet and now that he's on top he doesn't need it. He wants to withdraw from the system so he doesn't have to abide by a primary spending limit of $54 million (which he's already close to).

Here are the problems: (1) he may have used his matching funds qualification to secure a loan in December, something that locks him into the system; (2) he may have used his qualification to get on the ballot in Ohio and other states; (3) he may not be able to officially withdraw or get a stop order on the instruction to Treasury to pay funds because the FEC is without a quorum; (4) the FEC doesn't have a quorum because Obama put a stop on the confirmation of nominees worked out between President Bush and Harry Reid. Oh, also, the DNC is suing to prevent him from withdrawing.

This is known as the "lawyering up" stage of presidential politics, an essential step for any man or woman who wants to get to the White House. A very long and thorough analysis of the situation is here. The answer they reach is that McCain is probably okay, but it's not exactly a clear win. If you're interested in this, or have been (understandably) confused by the legacy media's coverage, I suggest you read it.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 02:45 PM

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