February 22, 2008

"McCain says untroubled by campaign-finance letter"

Reuters offers this report. Meanwhile, AP offers Analysis: McCain Loses Leverage, which quotes this blog post.

Meanwhile some reform groups (but not the Campaign Legal Center or Democracy 21) have issued this statement about the Obama-McCain public financing dispute.

UPDATE: McCain's campaign has issued this statement:

    "The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has repeatedly held that candidates who enter the Presidential Primary Matching Funds System have a right to withdraw, provided they do so before the United States Treasury pays them the funds and provided they do not use the matching fund certificates they hold as collateral for a loan. The campaign has been paid no funds by the United States Treasury and never used the certificates issued by the FEC as collateral for its bank loan. Previous candidates in this situation include Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean, who entered and then withdrew from the primary funding system in the 2004 election, and Congressman Dick Gephardt, whose campaign obtained an advisory opinion from the FEC in 2003 stating they could withdraw from the system and then re-apply for re-entry. The right to withdraw from the system is a constitutional right, which prevents the FEC from blocking Senator McCain's withdrawal without cause.

    "Senator McCain notified the FEC and the United States Treasury of his withdrawal from the system in a letter dated February 6th. The current dispute is simply over whether the FEC has to take any action in response to the withdrawal notice. It is clear to the campaign, as it is to a number of FEC experts, that no FEC action is necessary in response to Senator McCain's notice of withdrawal given the constitutional nature of the right. In our view, the Senator's letter is all that is legally required to exit from the system. FEC Chairman Mason, who does not represent the official view of the Commission due to the current lack of a quorum, has written a letter to the campaign in which he states his belief that the FEC must formally vote to accept the withdrawal. In either case the result is the same: the campaign will be out of the public funding system either because of the letter sent on February 6th, or because of a future vote by the Commission acknowledging the letter.

    "Nevertheless, the campaign is fully responding to Chairman Mason's request for information and is confident that the new commissioners, when appointed and confirmed, will take whatever action they conclude is necessary to confirm Senator McCain's withdrawal from the system as of February 6, 2008."

Posted by Rick Hasen at February 22, 2008 04:36 PM