More Straight Talk: John McCain Breaks Two Pledges At Once

Hi all - thanks to the MyDD crew for giving me the opportunity to do some work here. I'm one of the organizers of Netroots Nation, but I've been a MyDD reader and fan all the way back to 2004 - when I started producing the Majority Report with Sam Seder and Janeane Garofalo.

The New York Times just posted a blockbuster online (set to print Sunday) that exposes two more broken McCain pledges: to not to fly on corporate jets, and to not exploit his wife's wealth for campaign advantage.

First, the campaign finance side - by exploiting a loophole left open by the non-functioning FEC, McCain flew for months on a corporate jet owned by his wife's company, but only paid a fraction of the cost:

Mr. McCain's campaign paid a total of $241,149 for the use of that plane from last August through February, records show. That amount is approximately the cost of chartering a similar jet for a month or two, according to industry estimates.

The senator was able to fly so inexpensively because the law specifically exempts aircraft owned by a candidate or his family or by a privately held company they control. The Federal Election Commission adopted rules in December to close the loophole -- rules that would have required substantial payments by candidates using family-owned planes -- but the agency soon lost the requisite number of commissioners needed to complete the rule making.

Because that exemption remains, Mr. McCain's campaign was able to use his wife's corporate plane like a charter jet while paying first-class rates, several campaign finance experts said. Several of those experts, however, added that his campaign's actions, while keeping with the letter of law, did not reflect its spirit.

Not only is he exploiting a loophole to save millions, he's actually going back on an earlier pledge. In early 2007, McCain's campaign swore off the practice of using corporate jets:

When McCain first ran for president in 2000, he defrayed some travel costs by flying on corporate jets. Under Federal Election Commission rules at the time, candidates could bill their campaign accounts the cost of a first-class ticket for a corporate flight.

But now, his campaign has said, McCain is abiding by a pledge to stay off corporate jets. In the past year, that has meant spending more than $1.1 million on charter flights, according to filings by his leadership committee.

Now McCain could claim that the problem is mitigated here because the corporation is his wife's, and technically the letter of the law was followed. I don't buy that,  since one of the underlying principles of campaign finance regulation is to gain back the public's trust and reduce even the "appearance of corruption."

But even then, McCain is still going back on his word, since, as the Times story notes:

Last summer, just before starting to use his wife's plane, Mr. McCain was quoted in a newspaper report as saying that he did not plan to tap her substantial wealth to keep his bid for the Republican presidential nomination going.

"I have never thought about it," Mr. McCain was quoted by The Arizona Republic as saying at a July appearance. "I would never do such a thing, so I wouldn't know what the legalities are."

Not only did he think about it, he did it.

Can Mrs. McCain please release her full tax returns now?

Tags: 2008 election, John McCain (all tags)

Comments

11 Comments

A bigger problem

for the GOP - McCain and money is like oil and water.

by sepulvedaj3 2008-04-26 12:59PM | 0 recs
Re: More Straight Talk

It is going to be a blast to watch McCain fumble over campaign finance throughout the general... if anyone thinks he will be able to attack either of our candidates on this they are insane...

If anything it is going to be yet another bit of idiocy we get to bludgeon him with from now to November.

by JDF 2008-04-26 01:10PM | 0 recs
Re: More Straight Talk

This is so true. McCain will fold like a house of cards. A one (bad) issue candidate, old and cranky

by Politicalslave 2008-04-26 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain isn't fooling anybody.

When someone like McCain says he never thought about using his wife's money to keep his campaign going, you know he is lying.  That would not even be normal for that not to cross his mind.  

You know, all these people who are worrying about what the democrats are doing to themselves by participating in democracy while Mccain is running around the country making his poll numbers go up, need not worry.  Once the focus is on McCain, it'll be like a trip to the circus.  McCain has so many freakish things in his past and private life it ain't even funny, and there are often photos to go along with them.

It is pretty amazing too, how with all the good press focused on him and all the bad press coming from the democrats, that his poll numbers are not even impressive.  He should be about 15 points ahead of the Dems at this point in time.

by Scotch 2008-04-26 01:27PM | 0 recs
when is alegre going to start in on McCain?

by AtTheZoo2136 2008-04-26 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: when is alegre going to start in on McCain?

When are you?

by skohayes 2008-04-26 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: when is alegre going to start in on McCain?

I'm just pointing out that she seems to think that Barack Obama is more of an enemy than John McCain.

by AtTheZoo2136 2008-04-26 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: More Straight Talk: John McCain

The list of the rules this man has broken grows longer by the day.
Votes against veterans benefits and says he supports the troops.
Visits New Orleans for the first time since Katrina on a "Forgotten Places" tour. The irony.
Campaign reform? He's a "maverick", the rules don't apply!

(Josh, may I say I am a huge fan of Sam's and first heard him on the Majority Report. That was a great show. Thanks.)

by skohayes 2008-04-26 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: More Straight Talk: John McCain Breaks Two Ple

I'm not convinced that the people who would support McCain would care.

I know. Cynical.

Anyway, looking forward to more posts from you, Josh. And where does the fan club meet?

by gina 2008-04-26 02:55PM | 0 recs
8 Comments

That's it. This is the true enemy people! A post on McCain get's 8 freakin comments. Can we start taking a little bit of our attention and putting it toward McCain?

It's obvious that no one cares. Can we quit tearing down eachother and go after the real enemy?

by recusancy 2008-04-26 02:58PM | 0 recs
John McLame Breaks Two Pledges At Once

Obama can't really play these 'politics' b/c it goes against his message, but he ought to get the DNC to go after McCain on this.  

by venavena 2008-04-26 04:31PM | 0 recs

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