by Jim Nintzel
It's pretty clear that Sen. John McCain is giving a big assist to Republican Ruth McClung, the political newbie whose unlikely campaign against Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva has made her a contender. But is the piggyback ride crossing the line set by McCain's own legendary campaign-finance reform laws?
Huffpo investigates here:
John McCain's Senate campaign is directly coordinating with the candidacy of Arizona Republican House challenger Ruth McClung in apparent violation of the letter and spirit of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform law.
McCain's unusual involvement in the House race has much to do with the interests of uranium and copper mining companies, which have been lobbying hard to mine in the state. McClung's opponent, Democratic incumbent Raul Grijalva, chairman of a key Natural Resources House Subcommittee, has stood in the way.
McCain's violation stems from his decision to invest more than $90,000 of his Senate campaign's money to boost McClung's candidacy. When Democrats complained, McCain produced documents showing he had filed with the Federal Election Commission to declare that his campaign is making "independent expenditures" on behalf of the McClung campaign. But in order to remain independent in the eye of the law, the campaigns can't coordinate.
A McCain campaign spokesman said that no laws were broken because the campaign didn't coordinate on the specific media buy in question. "You've cracked the code — a revelation so incredible it's sure to make headlines nationwide: McClung volunteers and McCain volunteers will make phone calls at the same place for a few nights this week to ensure that the Republican ticket defeats boycott promoter Raul Grijalva and his liberal understudy Rodney Glassman. We thank the Huffington Post for getting this phone bank a bit more publicity than normal," said Brian Rogers.
"'Coordination' has a very specific legal meaning under the FEC regulations, and involves sharing campaign strategy and plans — not just appearing on the same stage or asking volunteers to meet at the same building, as is the case here — but that is the nonsense the Democrats are selling. The fact is that the FEC put in place specific coordination rules and the McCain campaign is carefully following them," Rogers added.