Howard Dean: McCain POSES As A Reformer and 'Needs To Obey The Law'

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 4:20pm.

 Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean told CNN on Tuesday that McCain is trying to skirt election laws, saying, "John McCain is posing as a reformer, and it turns out reforms, as far as he's concerned, are good for everybody but him."

Sen. John McCain is battling the Federal Election Commission over his right to withdraw from public financing for his primary campaign, and the Democratic Party wants the matter investigated.

McCain initially asked for federal matching funds when money for his campaign was tight. Now that he is the front-runner, he wants to opt out again, because the use of matching funds would mean accepting strict spending limits. That would significantly limit his ability to campaign between now and the Republican convention next September.

McCain's lawyer said last week that the FEC can't stop McCain from withdrawing because he never actually received any cash. However, the Democrats point out that McCain did receive certain other advantages for having opted in and say that should prevent him from withdrawing.

McCain has cited Dean's own campaign in 2004 as a precedent for opting out, saying at a news conference last week, "Well, it was done before in another campaign. ... We think it's perfectly legal."

Dean insisted to CNN that McCain's situation is very different, because McCain "has benefited materially from getting public financing. One, he used the possibility of public financing as [collateral for] a bank loan. Two, he got on the ballot free of charge in a lot of states."

"Thirdly," Dean continued, "the thing that's most disturbing about all this is, when you're running for president of the United States, to defend yourself by saying 'he did it too' is not a defense. We want John McCain to obey the law. Otherwise, you may as well call it the Feingold Act, not the McCain-Feingold Act."

CNN's John Roberts pointed out that the McCain campaign is denying it used the matching funds as collateral for the loan. Roberts quoted a letter from Fidelity Bank's attorneys saying, "The bank does not now have, not did it ever receive from the committee, a security interest in any certification of matching funds."

"That's not the same thing as saying they didn't use it as collateral," Dean replied. "All you have to do is promise to get the public financing in order to use it as collateral. That's not the same thing as a security interest."

"Niggling around the edges is exactly what John McCain does," Dean concluded. "He says one thing and does something else. He's done it on earmarks. ... He poses as a politician who's not like that, and in fact he is like that. ... He needs to obey the law, particularly since he's posed as a reformer for all these years."

Because of a long-running and highly partisan battle in the Senate over one of Bush's nominations, the FEC currently has four vacancies and only two active members, leaving little chance that the dispute will be resolved any time soon.


David Edwards and Muriel Kane - February 26, 2008 - posted at

Tag this page!
Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 4:20pm.