CommunityFDL Main Blog

Rigging The FEC For McCain? Ask Charlie Black…

In light of the announced "deal" with the Bush White House on the FEC membership, I’ve got a few questions. Especially since the deal riffed David Mason, current head of the FEC who apparently committed the unpardonable sin of adhering to the letter of the law and expecting John McCain to do the same.

This is the crux of the problem, in the FEC regs — at 14 U.S. Sec. 437(g)(2):

If the Commission, upon receiving a complaint under paragraph (1) or on the basis of information ascertained in the normal course of carrying out its supervisory responsibilities, determines, by an affirmative vote of 4 of its members, that it has reason to believe that a person has committed, or is about to commit, a violation of this Act or chapter 95 or chapter 96 of title 26, the Commission shall, through its chairman or vice chairman, notify the person of the alleged violation. Such notification shall set forth the factual basis for such alleged violation. The Commission shall make an investigation of such alleged violation, which may include a field investigation or audit, in accordance with the provisions of this section.

If you stack the FEC to preclude sustaining a "4 affirmative votes" margin, no formal investigation can take place. By ridding the FEC of David Mason, the Bush Administration is trying to gin up just such a scenario. Was this done at the behest of the McCain campaign, to avoid public sanction for illegal behavior and a full investigation thereof?

I remembered this gem from Ken Herman of Cox News:

John McCain’s senior campaign staff and President Bush’s senior White House staff are so close that the McCain folks let the Bush folks know in advance whenever McCain is about to distance himself from the unpopular president, says a top McCain aide….

“We have an excellent relationship with the White House,” Black told reporters at a Friday lunch. “The senior staffs talk literally every day, sometimes more than once a day.” (emphasis mine)

Leaving aside the pathetic revelation that John McCain is such a "maverick" that he has to ask permission from the Bush/Cheney crew to criticize them publicly in a highly choreographed PR farce, I’d like to know about the "excellent relationship with the White House." Because it raises some interesting questions:

— You say that the "senior staffs" at both McCain campaign HQ and the Bush/Cheney White House talk "literally every day, sometimes more than once a day." What are the names of every person that has had interaction at this level and below, both connected to the McCain campaign, the Bush/Cheney WH or both?

— What policy issues and other political considerations are coordinated between the McCain presidential campaign and the current WH personnel?

— Have you, Charlie Black, or any other member of McCain’s campaign staff discussed, griped about, or otherwise talked about in any way with any person at the WH, the Veep’s office, or with anyone connected to the Bush/Cheney Administration in any way regarding the potential removal of the thorn in your campaign finance hypocrisy and lawbreaking side (heretofore known as David Mason)?  (Or vice versa?)

— Did you ask directly for Mason’s removal? And, if not, were there hints in any way that it might be better if he were not making decisions about your campaign finance law violations going into November 2008? 

— Has any member of McCain’s campaign staff and/or fundraising pals, or any other person connected with the campaign as an informal advisor or otherwise, ever discussed these issues with Karl Rove, who is functioning as an informal advisor to the McCain campaign as well? (And who, btw, rarely if ever bothers to inform the public about that fact whenever he’s a teevee pundit).

— Could this be considered obstruction of an ongoing matter at the FEC, given the warning letter which the McCain campaign clearly received notifying you to cease and desist from your illegal behavior in violation of campaign finance laws onto which he signed at the beginning of the presidential campaign and from which he benefited in obtaining a loan using said promise of public financing as collateral for obtaining the loan?

— Have you, Charlie Black, or any other member of the McCain campaign staff or fundraising network, or any member of the RNC or other GOP-related interest group raised the FEC’s composition in any way with either President Bush, Vice President Cheney or any of their close aides, associates, or friends? If so, what was discussed? Be specific.

And that’s just off the top of my head. If the reporters tra-la-ing along on the Sweet Talk Express can get the ribs out of their mouths long enough to speak properly, do you think they could ask a few of these — on the record — and report the exact answers? Because I think the public has a right to know if a candidate for President had a hand in trying to rig the FEC in his favor at a time when a his own alleged campaign finance violations are under scrutiny.

We have had more than enough interference in the rule of law the last few years, and I think we all have a right to know if John McCain is even more of a campaign finance hypocrite than his lawless behavior has already shown him to be, don’t you? Never mind that interference in an official investigative matter, for which the campaign has been officially notified was, indeed, a violation of the letter and spirit of the law, constitutes a severe breach of ethics and raises a whole host of questions about the legality of this move.

Isn’t it time we started asking the real questions about the issues that matter instead of giving a pass to lawbreaking by public officials while we all watch a bread and circus distraction show? (And don’t even get me started on the odious Mr. Von Spakovsky…)

(YouTube — AC/DC’ "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap." No particular reason, why do you ask?)

Previous post

"As Maine Goes, So Goes The Nation"

Next post

White dog whistles no more

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com