NYT’s latest McCain hit piece leaves out crucial bit of information

This is, what, the third or fourth attempt by the NYT to squeeze a scandal out of the Mc?

Given Senator John McCain’s signature stance on campaign finance reform, it was not surprising that he backed legislation last year requiring presidential candidates to pay the actual cost of flying on corporate jets. The law, which requires campaigns to pay charter rates when using such jets rather than cheaper first-class fares, was intended to reduce the influence of lobbyists and create a level financial playing field.

But over a seven-month period beginning last summer, Mr. McCain’s cash-short campaign gave itself an advantage by using a corporate jet owned by a company headed by his wife, Cindy McCain, according to public records. For five of those months, the plane was used almost exclusively for campaign-related purposes, those records show.

Mr. McCain’s campaign paid a total of $241,149 for the use of that plane from last August through February, records show. That amount is approximately the cost of chartering a similar jet for a month or two, according to industry estimates.

The senator was able to fly so inexpensively because the law specifically exempts aircraft owned by a candidate or his family or by a privately held company they control. The Federal Election Commission adopted rules in December to close the loophole — rules that would have required substantial payments by candidates using family-owned planes — but the agency soon lost the requisite number of commissioners needed to complete the rule making.

Make sure to read the rest, as the NYT uses quotes from several “experts” to show how “his campaign’s actions, while keeping with the letter of law, did not reflect its spirit.”

What did the New York Times not mention in this story that would have raised questions about the man who may be McCain’s fall opponent? John Fund wrote back on April 15 (emphasis added):

The Federal Election Commission, down to only two out of its six required members since January, suffered another blow Monday. A Democratic nominee for a vacancy announced he was withdrawing. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it will “most likely” take several months to find a replacement for Robert Lenhard, who said in a statement he couldn’t wait any longer in limbo.

Leaving the FEC with only a skeleton crew means the agency can’t open new cases, hold public meetings or even issue advisory opinions. Michael Toner, a former FEC chairman, says the inability of the White House and the Senate to agree on nominees “hurts the ability of parties and candidates to comply with the law.” The commission does not have the legal authority without a quorum to release the public financing funds that may be vital to John McCain’s fall campaign – a situation that perhaps suits Barack Obama, who has declared that his large haul of private Internet donations represents a new kind of “public financing” and who seems intent on reneging on his previous pledges to abide by the public financing system.

Democrats created the FEC impasse last year when they balked at confirming Hans von Spakovsky, who had served on the FEC for two years. Ironically, it was Sen. Obama himself who put the nomination on hold because Mr. von Spakovsky, as a Justice Department official, had supported laws requiring voters to show photo ID. Those laws have since been upheld as Constitutional by several federal courts and the Supreme Court is likely to follow suit in a decision it will hand down this June.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page wrote about this as well, in February, which I noted here.

So when the NYT wrote with phony concern, “The Federal Election Commission adopted rules in December to close the loophole — rules that would have required substantial payments by candidates using family-owned planes — but the agency soon lost the requisite number of commissioners needed to complete the rule making,” the left out the main reason why the commission didn’t have that “requisite number” to “close the loophole”: because of Senator Barack Obama.

And the NYT wonders why it’s losing money and having to cut back on its staff?

It will be interesting to see if the Obama campaign tries to use this “issue” against McCain, considering Obama’s own role in keeping the FEC from having enough commission members to enforce existing laws and “close those loopholes” in others.

James Joyner writes in response to the story:

MyDD’s Josh Orton calls the story a “blockbuster” which “exposes two more broken McCain pledges: to not to fly on corporate jets, and to not exploit his wife’s wealth for campaign advantage.” Amanda Terkel of Think Progress agrees. But McCain objection to corporate jets was that said corporations might thereby gain undue influence; surely, that’s not a consideration when the corporation is owned by his wife? And it’s rather different to use your wife’s airplane or another existing, durable asset than to accept millions in cash, no? The jet, after all, remains an asset whereas cash is spent.

And speaking of Think Progress, let’s take a look at what their comments section on their post about this non-story looks like this morning. A few bravely ask “where’s the story?” but most of the feedback, as of this writing, looks like this:

Zooey Says:

Would that be “C*nt Air?”

April 26th, 2008 at 9:05 pm


dbadass Says:


April 26th, 2008 at 9:12 pm


99Luf Balloons Says:

Flipflop air

April 26th, 2008 at 9:17 pm


Zooey Says:

“Trollop Travels”

April 26th, 2008 at 9:18 pm


EtherealStrife Says:

Bah stop dancing around it.

Con Air.

April 26th, 2008 at 10:20 pm


Vanthomas Says:

The “Geritol Jet”?

April 26th, 2008 at 10:21 pm


Xisithrus Says:

Teresa Sidney Heinz McCain.

April 26th, 2008 at 10:21 pm


Shayne Says:

Jet Cranky. Air Alzheimers.

April 26th, 2008 at 10:23 pm


Xisithrus Says:

Vicodin Express

April 26th, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Ahhh! Nothing like a little far left peace, love, understanding, and “tolerance” to get your Sunday morning started off right, eh?

Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.

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