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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Jet Setting McCain And The Letter Of The Law

John McCain says "F. U." to his own campaign finance reform law
Given Senator John McCain’s signature stance on campaign finance reform, it was not surprising that he backed legislation last year requiring presidential candidates to pay the actual cost of flying on corporate jets. The law, which requires campaigns to pay charter rates when using such jets rather than cheaper first-class fares, was intended to reduce the influence of lobbyists and create a level financial playing field.

But over a seven-month period beginning last summer, Mr. McCain’s cash-short campaign gave itself an advantage by using a corporate jet owned by a company headed by his wife, Cindy McCain, according to public records. For five of those months, the plane was used almost exclusively for campaign-related purposes, those records show.

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. [...]

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.”
Yes, yes he's using a loophole but that's a crappy excuse. Shouldn't we expect the author of the law and one of its most staunch supporters to forgo using the loopholes in it because it's convenient for him!? Apparently not. It reminds me of this Calvin & Hobbes cartoon:



Look fellow conservatives, just shut-up, calm down, get over it, do as he says, not as he does, and support Senator F.U. McCain. My friends.

I will not vote for this man.

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