Posted by Brad @ 10:15 pm on April 19th 2008

More McCain-Feingold Fun

I reported below about McCain’s weird campaign structure, merging much if his campaign into the RNC.

Turns out there are some legal side-benefits to doing it this way as well. Namely, it allows McCain to effectively dodge…McCain-Feingold.

To help ease their fund-raising woes, John McCain’s campaign has devised a new system to increase the maximum amount an individual can donate to the unofficial Republican nominee’s election efforts.

Campaign manager Rick Davis released the details of the “McCain Victory 08” fund on Friday. He said the entity is a joint committee, combining the McCain campaign, the Republican National Committee and four key states under a “hybrid legal structure.”

The idea is to tap donors for more than the $2,300 limit set by campaign finance laws. Under legislation pushed by McCain in his role as a senator from Arizona, an individual can donate a maximum of $2,300 to a presidential primary campaign and the same amount to the general election campaign. Although McCain received the number of delegates necessary to secure the nomination in March, he will not be the party’s official nominee until the convention in September—so he is still running a primary campaign.

The new structure allows up to $70,000 in individual contributions by channeling the money into different McCain-centric funds.

How convenient.

So, as I understand it, McCain-Feingold disallows candidates from receiving over 2300 from an individual…unless that candidate has the institutional support necessary to merge his campaign with the national party.

How nice for the “little guy”.

If you support the candidate/party hybrid choice, you get 30 times the say then if you support just a regular ‘ole candidate. So, I was unable to contribute to Ron Paul more than $2300 for his primary campaign (still am). But if I support John McCain, as he becomes some kind of McCain-GOP cyborg, that limit goes up to a cool 70 grand.

How principled.


  1. McCain-Feingold didn’t impose the limit on contributions to individual campaigns (it increased that already-existing limit and index-linked it). So he’s not “dodging McCain-Feingold”, he’s dodging the limit on individual campaign contributions that is ~30 years old. As to weird, it seems to me that where you have laws, you have avoidance (which is entirely legal).

    Comment by Adam — 4/19/2008 @ 10:21 pm

  2. And which is pretty much the history of campaign finance (and McCain-Feingold only raised it for inflation). McCain’s explicit intent with his campaign finance reform was to make it so big monied interests didn’t have a disproportionate say in elections.

    Perhaps this summer I’ll compile a McCain “Best Of” giving his quotes and thoughts on the fairness or unfairness of the system as it stands (and with avoidance, particularly that which violates the spirit of the law, which is what McCain-Feingold was intending to nip).

    Comment by Brad — 4/20/2008 @ 10:51 am

  3. The hard-money contributions have built-in increases for inflation (which is what I meant by ‘index-linked’) by the 2002 McCain-Feingold Act.

    Every new law is about preventing endruns around the ‘spirit of the law’, pretty much. That many of them, themselves, get circumvented is pretty certain.

    As for the extent of the McCain campaign’s involvement in these reported plans, what they actually mean, to what extent they really are outside the ‘spirit of the law’, I don’t know. You gave the same link, to an earlier Pond post of yours, twice there; presumably one of them was supposed to be the source for the quote instead.

    Comment by Adam — 4/20/2008 @ 12:59 pm

  4. My bad.

    Comment by Brad — 4/21/2008 @ 12:24 am

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