Obama did not make a Public Financing pledge

First I need to state that this is not a call out diary.  I'm including statements by Jerome Armstrong and myself only to bring people up to date on the disucssion.  Others made similar statements; I wasn't the only one.

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DNC to File Suit Over McCain Campaign Finance Shenanigans

Just in via release...

With reports indicating John McCain has begun the process of applying for public funds in the general election, the Democratic National Committee today announced that it will file suit Monday with the U.S. District Court in D.C. seeking to compel the Federal Election Commission to conduct an investigation into McCain's decision to unilaterally withdraw from FEC's matching funds program. McCain's campaign is also breaking the spending limits to which they agreed when they applied for the matching funds.

Since the FEC lacks a quorum, it has not been able to begin an investigation into the complaint the DNC filed against McCain in February. Where the FEC fails to act, the law permits a complaining party to file a suit asking the Court to compel the Commission to act on the complaint.  If the FEC still lacks a quorum when the time comes for the Court to direct the FEC to act, the DNC will ask the Court to authorize the DNC itself to bring a suit against Senator McCain and his campaign to remedy their violations of the law.

"Before Senator McCain even thinks about applying for public funds in the general election he should clear up questions about his campaign's compliance with the public funding program in the primaries," said DNC Executive Director Tom McMahon.  "Despite SenatorMcCain's apparent belief that the reforms he championed apply to everyone but himself, there is a compelling public interest in determining whether Senator McCain agreed to participate in the matching funds program so he could get a loan for his campaign, then violated the terms of that agreement so he could ignore the spending cap and raise unlimited money from lobbyists and special interests."

In February, the DNC filed a complaint with the FEC calling on the Commission to investigate whether the McCain campaign is breaking the law by ignoring spending limits in the primary.  Despite the fact that his campaign materially benefited from the matching funds program, McCain's campaign has taken the unprecedented step of unilaterally withdrawing from the program without FEC approval.  FEC Chair David Mason raised questions about whether loans McCain received last year were secured as a result of McCain qualifying for matching funds. McCain also used his qualification for matching funds to qualify for the ballot in several states.  FEC filings show McCain has already exceeded the spending limits for the primaries.

This is pretty simple stuff -- perhaps too simple for the media elite inside the Beltway to understand. The McCain campaign is traipsing around, complaining about some non-agreement they had with the Obama campaign about public financing in a general election. At the same time, the McCain campaign may be willfully and wantonly disregarding the spirit, if not the actual letter, of the laws regulating public financing in a primary election. Specifically, the DNC alleges that the McCain campaign opted into the public financing program, derived material benefit from his acceptance in the program (linking a loan to the program, as well as gaining expensive ballot access), then unilaterally withdrew from the program without the acceptance of the FEC, which would have to sign off on such a move (and might, but would not necessarily, do so in this exact case). Yet whenever we see a write up of or hear a report on John McCain attacking Barack Obama over campaign finance issues in a bastion of the establishment media, there is seldom, if ever, a mention of McCain's own shenanigans.

Will this suit finally shame reporters into covering this issue correctly? It should, but to tell you the truth, I'm not holding my breath...

(You can read more on the initial complaint here.)

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McCain Hits Obama With Untruthful Attacks & Broken Promises Claims

And if the media is covering this now from the Republican nominee, you know what is in store for the future should he some how win the Democratic nomination.  And that's exactly what we don't need.

Yes, I'm a Hillary supporter, because of Hillary, her positions, policy, experience, backbone, integrity and keeping her word.  It's not because of an opinion of Obama being unable to win the General Election.  But as we see, this is something we have to take in to consideration.  How much baggage will Obama bring to a General Election?

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Obama: Small Dollar Online Fundraising Akin to Public Financing

More and more it appears that, if nominated, Barack Obama will not accept public financing in a general election.

With all the "Will he? Won't he?" ponderings about whether Barack Obama will accept public financing, check out this comment from the senator last night at a Washington fundraiser:

"We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it, and they will have as much access and influence over the course and direction of our campaign that has traditionally reserved for the wealthy and the powerful," Obama said, reports NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan.

John McCain's team has made an issue of Obama's suggestion that he'd consider public financing, in large measure, of course, because McCain hasn't shown nearly the fundraising prowess. It's a fair plea, however. A person can't change the influence of money on politics without opting out of the broken system. But Obama's comment signals with some finality, finally, his intention to bypass the system.

Frankly, Obama is not taking money from PACs and Washington lobbyists, and his camp can show that Obama's effort has largely been floated by small-dollar contributions. What would he have to prove by signing up for public financing?

John McCain and his surrogates are going to make a lot of hay about this -- they have to because there's no way that the McCain campaign would be able to compete dollar for dollar with the massive grassroots fundraising organization that is the Obama campaign -- but McCain has little credibility here. Remember, there remains an outstanding FEC complaint against McCain alleging that he is in violation on campaign finance law, specifically by blowing past the mandatory spending cap that comes along with acceptance of public financing. In this case, McCain opted in to the public finance program for the primaries, enjoyed benefits from it (partially conditioning a loan on American taxpayer dollars and gaining expensive ballot access from his certification in the program), only to unilaterally (and not clearly legally) pull out of the program without the acceptance of the Federal Election Commission.

And Jennifer Skalka over at The Hotline, who wrote the quoted post above, makes the fine point that Obama really is adhering to the spirit of campaign finance reform by refusing PAC and federal lobbyist donations. This pledge is made all the more important by the fact that the McCain campaign is chockfull of federal lobbyists, some of whom continued to lobby even from the so-called "Straight Talk Express."

Finally, going beyond the optics and ethics of a move towards grassroots rather than public financing for a general election, it's fairly clear that by opening up his campaign to contributions from the American people, Obama would greatly enhance his ability to win in November. Note that Obama is raising significantly more money that McCain in hard dollars -- roughly $130 million to less than $40 million in the first quarter of 2008, for instance. Note also that while much if not most of Obama's haul is coming from relatively small dollar donors, a relatively small portion of McCain's take (just $4 million of $15 million) comes from small dollar donors. And while the candidate who raises and spends the most money doesn't always win, recent elections have shown it generally to be the case that the bigger spender does tend to win.

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John McCain: Campaign Finance Criminal

Yesterday, Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake officially filed an FEC complaint against John McCain for exceeding the spending limit of $54 million that he agreed to when he opted into public financing originally but which he now finds inconvenient.

Christy puts it well:

As Markos of DailyKos pointed out in joining the complaint, "John McCain has officially blown past campaign spending limits mandated by his original acceptance of public campaign funding. While he has signaled his intent to withdraw from such financing, that has been hindered by the fact that he used the promise of public funding to secure a campaign loan." Guess the campaign finance laws only apply when they aren't inconvenient for McCain's ambitions.

Jane has more as she takes the complaint in to the FEC:

Jane filed the complaint on behalf of bloggers and activists everywhere -- have you signed on? Read the full text of the complaint (pdf) HERE and sign your name on to the complaint HERE.

And what do ya know, looks like CNN noticed:

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