Friday, February 22, 2008

McCain's FEC trouble

I understand that 527s can spend unlimited money all year long, and that Fox News and talk radio will make sure Republican messages don't disappear from the airwaves. But still, couldn't this FEC warning to John McCain potentially be a huge problem for his campaign?
By signing up for matching money, McCain agreed to adhere to strict state-by-state spending limits and an overall limit on spending of $54 million for the primary season, which lasts until the party's nominating convention in September. The general election has a separate public financing arrangement. [...]

If the FEC refuses McCain's request to leave the system, his campaign could be bound by a potentially debilitating spending limit until he formally accepts his party's nomination. His campaign has already spent $49 million, federal reports show. Knowingly violating the spending limit is a criminal offense that could put McCain at risk of stiff fines and up to five years in prison.
(Emphasis added.) It is hard to believe that McCain really isn't going to be permitted to wriggle out of this agreement at some point. But every day he has to fight with the FEC is a day his campaign isn't operating at full speed. And it is a long time until September.

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