In today’s Huffington Post column, Arianna Huffington looks at McCain’s abandonment of the public financing during the end of the Republican Primary in order to use his $56 million war chest to campaign directly against Barack Obama:
What’s actually disturbing is the Swift Boat Media’s complete indifference to McCain’s bald-faced hypocrisy on the same issue. Amidst all the attacks on Obama’s “flip-flop,” how much have you read in the MSM about the fact that McCain has “completely reversed himself” on public financing — and is currently breaking the law on a daily basis, making a mockery out of a campaign finance system he helped create?
In the fall of 2007, McCain opted into the public financing system for the GOP primaries, which meant he’d later receive just over $5 million in public funds in exchange for agreeing to a fundraising limit of around $54 million for the entire primary process, which ends when he accepts the nomination at the Republican National Convention in September.
By late November, his campaign was practically broke, so McCain took out a pair of $1 million loans, using the public funds he would receive as collateral.
Cut to Super Tuesday, when McCain had the Republican nomination all but wrapped up. Suddenly, he didn’t want to be bound by that $54 million limit, so his campaign did a 180 and opted back out of the public financing system.
But as David Mason, the Republican-appointed chair of the FEC, has pointed out, you can’t just unilaterally opt out — especially after securing a loan based on having opted in. The response of the McCain campaign is quite simply to ignore Mason. And because the FEC currently lacks a quorum (thanks to stalling tactics by that human roadblock to reform, Mitch McConnell) that’s where things stand, pending a ruling on a lawsuit filed by the DNC.
Here’s the AP story about the lawsuit. I won’t post any text because I don’t want to be charged.
So, at the end of the day, both Obama and McCain have “flip-flopped” on campaign finance, but the media has only decided to report about Obama’s decision.
My question is, how long will it be before John McCain opts out of public financing for the general election in order to “competitively spend with Obama.” I put the over-under at two months, or a 20-point polling differential.