Tags: mccain | obama | donations

McCain Slams Obama for Breaking Donation Vow

By    |   Thursday, 30 October 2008 12:25 PM

Sen. Barack Obama bought his eye-popping, prime-time TV extravaganza with $4 million and something else: “It was paid for with broken promises,” says Sen. John McCain.

McCain is slamming Obama for breaking pledges to abide by campaign finance reform and accept public financing for his campaign.

“When you’re watching this gauzy, feel-good commercial, just remember that it was paid for with broken promises,” McCain said Wednesday evening. “Twice he looked the American people in the eye and said he would sit down with me before he abandoned public financing. He didn’t mean a word of it. When it was in his interest to break his promise, he tossed it aside like it didn’t mean a thing.”

Obama’s campaign “is now being flooded with hundreds of millions of dollars in undisclosed and questionable donations,”McCain said.

Obama’s June flip-flop on financing drew sharp criticism from some quarters but not generally from the mainstream media. Conservative direct-marketing guru Richard Viguerie told Newsmax the shift is part of a larger pattern.

“The facts of life are that Senator Obama makes decisions that help advance his career, and promises and relationships are to be discarded if they interfere with his ambitions,” Viguerie said.

Obama is the first presidential candidate to opt out of the public system of financing presidential campaigns. That system, which is designed to reduce the influence of huge campaign contributions on presidential politics, would have limited Obama to the same $85 million that McCain received when he accepted public financing.

When Obama announced his decision in June to reverse course and reject public financing, his aides confided privately that it could mar Obama’s image as a reformer offering a new brand of politics.

At the time, Obama blamed his decision on McCain and the GOP. “We’ve already seen that [McCain] is not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies’ running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations,” Obama said.

Viguerie rejects that explanation as “nothing more than a small and transparent fig leaf.”

Obama’s decision to reject public financing was a sharp reversal from earlier promises:

  • In early 2007, in a Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing, Obama stated that he wanted to work out an agreement with the Republican nominee to accept public financing.

  • Obama also stated on a questionnaire, “If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election,” according to The New York Times,

  • On Feb. 26, during the Democratic primary debate in Cleveland, Ohio, Obama said, “I will sit down with John McCain and make sure we have a system that works for everybody.” The McCain campaign maintains that Obama’s operatives never joined them in substantive negotiations before Obama’s announcement that he would not accept public financing.

  • On April 27, Obama told Fox News host Chris Wallace: “I have promised that I would sit down with John McCan and talk about can we preserve a public [financing] system.”

    Obama’s reversal on public campaign financing, and the huge amounts of cash he is raising from unidentified or untraceable donors, inevitably will lead to a major scandal, McCain has warned. Obama has raised close to $200 million from donations of $200 or less, the level at which donors’ names do not have to be reported to the SEC. McCain has released the names of all of his donors, including those who contributed less than $200.

    “Senator Obama has unleashed a force which we will pay a very dear price for sometime in the future, if not now,” McCain told The Washington Times on Oct. 22. “Because it’s very unlikely we can track down and document the contributions that he refused to reveal.”

    Independent 527 groups, named after the section of the tax code that allows them to participate in political activity without being taxed, have almost gone unnoticed in this year’s election. Several reasons have been cited for their reduced impact:

  • The downturn in the economy has reduced the donations given to the independent groups that mount 527 campaigns.

  • McCain, a staunch advocate of campaign-finance reform, is a long-time critic of the influence of so-called soft-money, which may have discouraged some contributors.

  • The FEC fined several 527 organizations for their activities following the 2004 election, and the prospect of legal entanglements may have made them less attractive vehicles for influencing elections.

    At the time Obama opted out of public financing, his advisers expected he could raise $200 to $300 million for the general election. Obama’s actual fundraising figures have far exceeded that amount. His campaign raised more than $150 million in September alone, which has allowed him to outspend McCain in some key battleground states by a margin of 2-to-1.

    Indeed, it now appears likely that Obama will raise and spend more money than President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, combined, spent in 2004. And those figures do not account for the massive assistance Obama has received from groups such as ACORN, the AFL-CIO and other unions, abortion-rights, and other organizations.

    Obama’s use of the Internet is sure to revolutionize campaign financing, experts say. But whether it will also trigger a push for reform remains to be seen. The Republican National Committee has filed a complaint with the FEC charging that a host of Obama donations come from fictitious figures or foreign sources, or exceed the legal limits.

    All of which means that the burgeoning controversy over Obama’s fundraising practices may dog his administration from the very outset, if he wins the election.

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    Sen. Barack Obama bought his eye-popping, prime-time TV extravaganza with $4 million and something else: “It was paid for with broken promises,” says Sen. John McCain.McCain is slamming Obama for breaking pledges to abide by campaign finance reform and accept public...
    mccain,obama,donations
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    2008-25-30
    Thursday, 30 October 2008 12:25 PM
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