The Washington Post falsely suggested in an editorial that, in contrast with Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain has said definitively that he will accept public financing for the general election. In fact, in recent interviews with ABC News and USA Today, McCain did not give a definitive answer. According to USA Today, McCain "said he has not decided whether to accept about $85 million in public financing for the fall campaign."
The Boston Globe reported in an article that Sen. John McCain has "accus[ed] [Sen. Barack] Obama of going back on his word to take part in the public system" without noting that the Obama campaign has also criticized McCain on public financing or that the FEC chairman has taken the position that McCain cannot legally opt out of public financing during the primary season without FEC approval.
Reporting on the $4 million loan Sen. John McCain's campaign obtained in November 2007, neither The New York Times nor ABCNews.com's Political Radar blog noted that the loan is at the center of a dispute between McCain's campaign and the FEC, whose chairman has cited the loan in taking the position that McCain cannot opt out of public financing in the primary without FEC approval.
Reuters reported that Sen. John McCain's campaign "is preparing to take $84 million in public funding after the Republican Party convention in September and he is challenging [Sen. Barack] Obama to stick by last year's pledge to use public money and its accompanying spending limits," but did not note that Federal Election Commission chairman David Mason has taken the position that McCain cannot opt out of public financing in the primary without FEC approval, as McCain has attempted to do, or that McCain could be breaking federal laws by exceeding spending limits within the public financing system for the primary.
A Reuters article on President Bush's nominations for the Federal Election Commission did not note that President Bush withdrew the renomination of FEC chairman David Mason, who told Sen. John McCain that he needed the FEC's permission to opt out of the public financing system in the presidential primary.
On The Situation Room, an on-screen chart showed Sen. John McCain's income to be significantly lower than that of Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton when combined with the income of their spouses. However, the chart did not include any income earned by McCain's wife, Cindy. As Dana Bash reported moments earlier of Cindy McCain, "Some estimates actually put her worth at about $100 million."
During his April 15 interview with Sen. John McCain, Chris Matthews failed to challenge McCain on a variety of issues, including Iraq, other foreign policy issues, campaign finance, and spending projects, despite purporting to ask "tough" questions.
MSNBC's David Shuster asserted that "[Sen. John] McCain also made clear he will continue to insist that Barack Obama stay in the public financing system for the general election as he promised," adding that the issue "could help McCain tarnish the image of Obama's political purity." But Shuster did not mention that McCain may be violating campaign finance laws by surpassing spending limits under the public financing system for the primary period.
Reporting on the DNC's lawsuit seeking to force the Federal Election Commission to rule on Sen. John McCain's withdrawal from the public financing system for the presidential primary, neither the Los Angeles Times nor NPR noted that FEC chairman David Mason has taken the position that McCain cannot opt out of public financing in the primary without FEC approval.
Blog posts by The New York Times and washingtonpost.com both reported on the Democratic National Committee's announcement that it would be filing a lawsuit to force the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to investigate Sen. John McCain's unilateral withdrawal from the federal public financing system for the primary election, but neither noted that FEC chairman David Mason has taken the position that McCain cannot opt out of public financing in the primary without FEC approval.
The New York Times' political blog, The Caucus, reported that Sen. John McCain's campaign "believes" Sen. Barack Obama "reneged on his pledge to accept public financing," and that McCain's campaign "circulated an editorial ... that questioned Mr. Obama's commitment to the public financing system." However, The Caucus did not report that McCain may have violated campaign finance laws by surpassing spending limits under the public financing system for the primary campaign.
A Bloomberg article noted that Sen. John McCain "has pledged to take public financing [for the general election presidential campaign] if the Democrat does. His campaign noted that [Sen. Barack] Obama 'promised the American people' he would take public financing," then quoted a McCain adviser as saying, "Senator McCain isn't in the habit of breaking his word, and he hopes Senator Obama doesn't either." The article did not report that McCain could be breaking federal law for failing to abide by restrictions placed on candidates participating in the public financing system during their party's primary season.
In reporting on whether Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama would accept public funding in a general presidential election, The New York Times and Newsweek did not mention that McCain faces possible fines and jail time for breaking spending limits imposed on candidates participating in the public financing system during the primary.
Fox News' Megyn Kelly echoed a Washington Times column that questioned the legality of an Elton John concert for Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign, even after the Clinton campaign posted a statement from FEC spokesman Bob Biersack saying he does not believe there is "anything unlawful about Elton John performing in a concert to raise money for a US presidential candidate." Additionally, Lis Wiehl falsely claimed that a 1981 FEC advisory opinion stated that "you couldn't volunteer any time if you're a foreign national."
In a column about an Elton John concert on behalf of Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign, The Washington Times' John McCaslin questioned whether the concert violates federal election law and wrote that FEC spokesman Bob Biersack "said he doesn't know whether the Elton John performance would be considered unlawful by FEC standards." While McCaslin later updated his column, he did not note that, according to the Clinton campaign, Biersack said: "I did not intend to convey ... that there is anything unlawful" about the concert. McCaslin also falsely asserted that a 1981 FEC advisory opinion "prohibited a foreign national artist from donating his services in connection with fundraising for a U.S. Senate campaign."