McCain’s money dilemma

There won’t be too many conservatives who will sympathize with John McCain’s money-problem-turned-ethical-dilemma.

As the author and proponent of much of the tangled web of campaign finance rules and regulations, to see the Arizona Senator reaching the spending limits imposed by his agreement to accept public financing for his primary campaign is sweet irony for some, and case of mccainenfreude for others.

“At this point, (McCain) is in the matching fund system. Right now, there is no mechanism for the commission to turn off the spigot,” said Marc Elias, a campaign finance lawyer who represented the aborted presidential campaign of Democrat Chris Dodd.

On the other hand, Paul Ryan of the Campaign Legal Center (whose founder, Trevor Potter, happens to be the McCain campaign’s lawyer) argues that as long as McCain sends the FEC a letter opting out of the public funds, he can ignore the limits. source

Ryan’s argument is essentially a replay of Al Gore’s “No controlling legal authority” kerfluffle. But, Elias argues that opting out would be a clear violation of the law. The situation guarantees continued employment for scores of legal talking heads who will be sure to dominate cable news if McCain decides to push the envelope.

And, the final irony, McCain’s only other viable option for private financing would be to embrace the 527 model, whose very existence has been a bain to McCain’s crusade to craft legislation in the campaign finance arena. Otherwise, his campaign would be caught in the same “dark period” that doomed Bob Dole in 1996: unable to respond to the well-financed attacks of the Democrats.

Read more at Politico, and Cato.

TB to Michelle: Judge me by the company I keep

and to Hot Air: Tammy Bruce, come to think of it…

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