As many all know by now, John McCain applied for -- and was accepted into -- the public financing system for the primary. With that acceptance came certain requirements, one of those being that he can't spend more than $56,757,500 million during the primary.
As of February 29, 2008 McCain has -- by his own admission -- exceeded that amount. The FEC Chairman David Mason says McCain can't leave the public financing system without permission of the FEC, but John McCain is thumbing his nose at that. He has imperiously announced that the law doesn't apply to him, and is refusing to answer Mason's questions regarding a loan he took out that prevents him from opting out of the public financing system.
Since the FEC doesn't have enough commissioners to take action, having been gutted by Republicans in the Senate who are blocking the appointment of a quorum, the DNC's complaint about this matter has fallen on deaf ears. (We filed a similar complaint.) If the FEC fails to act, the law allows the DNC to file suit compelling them to do so -- which they did today.
From the complaint:
8. The violations committed by Senator McCain and the McCain Campaign before the November 2008 general election cannot be redressed unless this Court issues an order pursuant to 2 U.S.C. § 437g(a)(8), declaring that the failure to act on the DNC administrative complaint in these circumstances is contrary to law and that it is not curable by an agency wholly unable to act.
9. Under the FECA, the effect of such an Order will be to authorize the DNC as the administrative complainant to act in the place of the FEC in seeking from this Court a declaration that the law has been violated and a remedial order establishing any and all appropriate penalties. 2 U.S.C. §437g(a)(8)(C).
The DNC is asking the court to compell the FEC to investigate -- which they can't. So when they fail to do so, the DNC can (and most likely will) ask the court for an injunction against McCain. Essentially, this is the next necessary step in that process -- they can't ask for the injunction until they show that the FEC can't act.
In "Free Ride," their book on John McCain and the press, Paul Waldman and David Brock say that "the press's affection for John McCain is built on three foundations: his Vietnam experience, his advocacy for campaign finance reform, and his style in dealing with reporters." But his commitment to campaign finance reform is a sham, and the DNC's actions go straight to the heart of exposing this deceit and hypocrisy. Let's see if the press picks it up.
We've now got nearly 38,000 cosigners to our FEC compliant against McCain. (You can sign it here, and tell you friends about it here.) When we get to 50,000 we'll do another delivery. I'm thinking McCain's campaign finance reform buddy Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21 needs a chance to redeem himself for being AWOL on all of this. I think we should invite him to do the delivery honors.
He'd make a great YouTube star, don't you think?
Jane Hamsher blogs at firedoglake.com