The back-and-forth continued this week between presumptive Republican nominee John McCain and the Federal Election Commission over John McCain's desire to opt out of the public financing system for the primary election. In a Feb. 25 response to FEC Chairman David Mason, McCain's attorney (who is a former FEC chairman himself) cited precedents for releasing McCain from the presidential campaign fund and its spending limits, because while McCain had qualified for taxpayer financing, he had not yet collected any money. Mason had also asked McCain's campaign to provide additional evidence that the promise of public financing was not used to secure a $4 million line of credit (which would be against the rules). The campaign provided a letter from its bank's attorneys, one of them a -- you guessed it -- former FEC chairman, saying that the bank was very careful not to factor public financing into its evaluation of the loan. Also this week, the Democratic National Committee complained to the FEC that McCain had broken the rules in a number of ways and shouldn't be released from the limits of the public financing system, which would limit his campaign to about $5 million in spending between now and the Republican convention. (When he ran for president in 2004, DNC chairman Howard Dean also pulled out of the public system after qualifying, which McCain's campaign cited in its letter to the FEC this week, but the DNC asserts that situation was different.) Of course, the FEC can't settle this matter right now because they don't have a quorum -- and not because all the former commissioners seem to have become election attorneys in private practice. Who's holding up the nominees in the Senate? Well, on the Democratic side, one of those senators has been Barack Obama. Small world.
*Correspondence between the FEC and the McCain campaign:
*Summary of the DNC's complaint: http://www.democrats.org/a