McCain busts the FEC’s spending cap, violating campaign finance law

John McCain, who raised a paltry $11 million in February, has been scamming the campaign finance system. The McCain campaign’s February FEC report is the here. He is currently in public finance system, which has a spending limit. The way the Associated Press tallied McCain’s expenditures, he’s busted the spending limit, which is a violation of the law:

McCain has now spent $58.4 million in his primary bid, surpassing the $50 million limit he would have faced if he participated in the public financing system he had been certified to join. McCain has decided not to accept the public matching funds, but the FEC wants him to assure regulators that he did not use the promise of public money as collateral for a $4 million loan.

McCain and his lawyers said the loan was secured with other collateral, thus freeing him to spend as much money as he wishes on his primary campaign. The Democratic National Committee has filed a complaint with the FEC arguing McCain cannot withdraw from the public finance system without FEC approval.

Also, McCain used his participation in the public finance system to secure his placement on the ballots in key states like Ohio. Here’s the DNC’s complaint.

Now, AP seems to think McCain is out of the system, but that’s a decision for the FEC, not John McCain or AP. And, the FEC already told McCain that he cannot withdraw from the system as the Washington Post reported last month:

The nation’s top federal election official told Sen. John McCain yesterday that he cannot immediately withdraw from the presidential public financing system as he had requested, a decision that threatens to dramatically restrict his spending until the general election campaign begins in the fall.

It’s serious — and, as the Post noted, it’s criminal:

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.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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