McCain Announces He Will Follow Christopher Ward’s Finance Methods

Remember Christopher Ward? The guy who set up a bunch of interlocking campaign funds at the NRCC, all the while inventing audits that made it look like it was kosher, but whom the FBI is very busy investigating for fraud? Well, key to the interlocking campaign accounts were his Victory Funds. I still owe you all a series of posts describing how the money worked. But for a short summary of how I think they work, you can read this Politico story describing how McCain plans to finance his campaign.

Indeed, to help counter their money deficit, McCain strategists now suggest that the proper comparison should be between the combined assets of the campaign and the RNC and that of their opponent and the far less flush DNC.

“The McCain camp is funded jointly” is how one adviser describes it.

By taking federal funds — something they intend to do, campaign manager Rick Davis told a closed-door meeting of chiefs of staff on Capitol Hill last week — McCain will receive $84 million.

That money, McCain aides say, will be bolstered by the $20 million in coordinated funds that they can legally direct the RNC to spend on anything they want.

Further, they’ll rely on the committee-campaign joint Victory Fund run out of the RNC, which allows contributions of up to $28,500 per person — far more than the $2,300 donors can give to individual candidates.

The Victory dollars will go into the states and be used to hire staffers, who in some cases will serve as the de facto McCain aides.

Other elements of the campaign, such as those tasked with developing coalitions and lining up surrogates, will also be placed at the RNC to save on overhead.

“Those functions that can legally be done at either [the campaign or RNC], we’ll err on the side of doing them at the RNC,” Black says. “The whole thing is under one umbrella in the way we are budgeting.” [my emphasis]

This is not to say McCain is breaking the law (aside from the campaign finance limits which he has already broken, that is). But it does say McCain is choosing a finance method that the Republican Party has already shown it cannot manage properly without someone committing fraud and–potentially–sifting money off the top for other expenditures.

You remember John McCain, surely. He’s Mr. Campaign Finance. The guy who insists (correctly) that big money donations taint us all. But now, with his lobbyist led campaign, he just invented a way for them to give ten times as much to him and his lobbyist lackeys. I’m sure McCain will find it very useful to use those $28,500 donations to pay his "staffers," most of whom are lobbyists.

17 replies
  1. Akatabi says:

    Gosh, it’s a good thing he’s a “maverick” – otherwise somebody might have to pay attention.

  2. PJEvans says:

    I’m sure the FEC will be very interested in this – next year.
    Maybe it needs to be mentioned, often and loudly, in the ‘news’ reports, that McCain isn’t honest even according to his own campaign-funding law.

    • MarieRoget says:

      Really wish Arizonians in the know around here/who read this blog would kick out the stops & give a complete expose re: McCain’s AZ Senatorial history, & his other history. You know what I mean- blogs need all the ammo they can get to combat the MSM deification of McBush.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yup. And more importantly, is repeating the model that failed for the NRCC. Why replicate it at the same time you’re playing dumb on the NRCC’s willingness to let the fraud happen in the first place?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Presumably to replicate what the model produced the first time: untraceable funds, whose loss is attributed to individual fraud or incompetence rather than group design.

  3. MrsPanstreppon says:

    McCain is going to get a lot of help in other ways.

    A couple of days ago, Peter Stone at the National Journal reported that Karl Rove was setting up independent political groups. This line in paricular caught my attention:

    One new group being cobbled together includes old associates of Rove from the lobbying and communications firm DCI Group, including Tom Synhorst.

    With some help, I’ve been researching two 501(c)(4)s, American Future Fund (AFF) and Iowa Future Fund (IFF). I’m 99.9% certain that AFF and IFF are part of Rove’s program. I posted about them here and here.

    AFF is running pro-Norm Coleman ads in Minnesota and IFF is running anti-Gov Chet Culver ads in Iowa.

    AFF and IFF were registered in Iowa on 8/7/07 by Holtzman Vogel which is owned by Alex N. Vogel and his wife, Jill Holtzman Vogel. The Vogels are two of the dirtiest of dirty Republican operatives.

    The DCI Group has strong political ties in Iowa. Tom Synhorst is a native Iowan. Brian Kennedy, a DCI Group exec, ran unsuccessfully in a 2006 congressional primary. More importantly, Kennedy is creator of Progress For America. PFA, a 501(c)(4) and its affiliate raised tens of millions of dollars in the 2004 election.

    Steve Greiner, a DCI Group partner, was a close advisor to former Rep. Jim Nussle’s failed 2006 gubernatorial bid. Nussle is now director of the OMB.

    I linked Nick Ryan, Nussle’s former campaign manager, as being associated with AFF/IFF along with his employer, Bruce Rastetter, an ethanol energy mogul. Rastetter, who is also invested in wind farms, considered running against Tom Harkin this year. Rastetter’s business partners are very, very wealthy private investors.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A bumper sticker opposing Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign claimed that what Bobby had done to Ethel, who was pregnant, he now wanted to do to “US”. A classic slam from the family values folks at the GOP.

      What KKKarl did for Shrub and the GOP in Alabama, he now wants to do across the country. A prophylactic seems unlikely to fit over his head or around his imagination. But there are enough leads suggesting his criminal past that all we need is a properly disinfected DOJ to return Mr. Rove’s mind back to what he finds most important: his own backside.

  4. MadDog says:

    Seems that McBush, like every other Repug we’ve known, willingly sacrifices any principle for their own apparent political gain.

    When McBush decried Torture from every soapbox, and then immediately turned around to give Junya and crew immunity from prosecution for the War Crime of Torture using the MCA and DTA bills, why does a McBush turnabout on campaign financing surprise anyone?

    Cheatin’, lyin’ and stealin’ is a Repug’s real creed!

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    But our feisty almost-an-Admiral-like-dad “employs” lobbyists who work for free, out of patriotism and the goodness of their hearts. Washington runs on money and power. If McCain’s several score of lobbyists are foregoing one, they surely are being paid with the latter.

    Juan Cole, speaking about McCain’s mish-mash of a non-strategy for Iraq, correctly assesses the totality of what a McCain presidency would mean:

    In other words, elect McCain, my friends, and you are summoning the awful genie of another 9/11. I said it. I mean it. I’m not taking it back. That man’s announced policies could well produce a blowback that will lead to the end of democracy in the United States. It is a momentous decision.

  6. WilliamOckham says:

    This should be Obama’s “out” from his pledge to take public financing. And just because I haven’t used a “Princess Bride” reference lately, I have to say about Black’s use of the word “err”:

    Those functions that can legally be done at either [the campaign or RNC], we’ll err on the side of doing them at the RNC

    In the words of Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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