John McCain/Elections and Government Policy

From OpenCongress Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

Wiki the vote tall.gif This article is part of the Wiki-The-Vote project to detail the positions and records of Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama. This article covers McCain and Elections and Government Policy. See the main page on John McCain for other positions and more info.
Summary (how summaries work)
Sen. McCain, following revelations of his involvement in the Keating Five scandal, pursued legislation that would reform the country's campaign finance system. Congress in 2002 passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) and hence also known as the McCain-Feingold bill. He was criticized in 2008 for possibly violating the spirit of his own law, if not the law itself.

In 2006, Sens. McCain, Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.), and Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S.2590).

Sen. McCain has also been a strong supporter of earmark reform.


Government reform

On April 6, 2006, Sens. McCain, Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.), and Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S.2590). The bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to create a searchable online database of all governments contracts and has been hailed as a "Google" for federal spending. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush on September 26, 2006, and created the website

Main article: Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act


Federal, state and local relations

Senator McCain supported the interests of the the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association 100 percent in 2007.


Congressional and legislative affairs

In 2007, U.S. English gave Senator McCain a grade of A.


Executive branch

In July 2006 McCain expressed ambivalence towards a bill by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) that would allow Congress to file a lawsuit to get presidential signing statements declared unconstitutional. Speaking towards whether George W. Bush would use his signing statements to modify the enforcement of laws, specifically the signing statement issued on the torture ban McCain championed, he stated, "I think the president will enforce the law."[1]

Main article: Presidential signing statements


Campaign finance and election issues

Since his involvement in the Keating Five scandal, one of McCain's main political passions has been campaign finance reform. McCain has repeatedly tried to pass legislation regulating campaign financing, finally achieving a major victory in 2002. That year, Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), co-sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) and hence also known as the McCain-Feingold bill. It was immediately challenged on free speech grounds. The new law was narrowly upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on December 10, 2003, in an expedited hearing and ruling.

On morning radio show Don Imus, McCain said of free speech and McCain/Feingold:

I would rather have a clean government than one where "First Amendment rights" are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government.[1]

The BCRA banned "soft money" from being contributed to federal or state candidates and national, state, and local political parties. BCRA also prohibited non-partisan "issue ads" funded by soft money from corporations and labor unions - those referring to candidates for federal election without expressly advocating their election or defeat -- in the 60 days prior to a general election, or 30 days prior to a primary election. It also required the disclosure of sources of finance for "electioneering communications" in excess of $10,000 per year, and raised the legal limits of hard money that could be raised.

On June 25, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act which restricted corporations and labor unions from broadcasting ads at election time using general funds. In the 5-4 decision in the case of Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Chief Justice John Roberts concluded that the ads at issue were not "the 'functional equivalent' of express campaign speech," meaning that these ads are protected under the First Amendment. Supporters of campaign finance reform worried that the decision would lead to a surge of soft money funded campaign ads disguised as issue ads.[2] Sen. McCain commented on the decision:

"It is regrettable that a split Supreme Court has carved out a narrow exception by which some corporate and labor expenditures can be used to target a federal candidate in the days and weeks before an election... It is important to recognize, however, that the Court’s decision does not affect the principal provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which bans federal officeholders from soliciting soft money contributions for their parties to spend on their campaigns."[3]
Main article: Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002

Since the passage of that bill, McCain has not sponsered new campaign reform legislation. In July of 2006, a new campaign reform legislation regarding presidential campaign's was introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Rep. Martin Meehan (D- Mass.), and Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) McCain has not signed onto the bill.[2]



Earmark Reform

McCain has publicly criticized his party on earmarking. On June 27, 2006, McCain posted his views on Porkbusters. In reference to his political party, he stated the following: “So why has my party, the party of small government, lately adopted the practices of our opponents who believe the bigger the government the better? I'm afraid it's because at times we value our incumbency more than our principle.” Though he supports lobbying, he states that it is corrupt when a lobbyist does not follow proper procedures by excepting favorable treatment for his or her client regardless of the public interest. [3]

FY2008 defense authorization

In late May 2007, Sens. McCain and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) sponsored earmark disclosure language in a closed-door markup of the Senate version of the FY2008 Defense Department authorization. The language would require committee and conference reports on the bill to list the name(s) of the sponsor and intended recipient(s) of any earmarks. Additionally, the language would require earmark information to be "provided by electronic means easily accessible by the public" at least 48 hours prior to consideration of the bill or the final conference report.

Main article: FY 2008 Defense Department authorization



Articles and resources

See also


  1. "John McCain v. America" (editorial), The Conservative Voice.
  2. Ariane de Vouge. "Supreme Court Weakens Campaign Finance Law," ABC News. June 25, 2007.
  3. Alexander Bolton and Klaus Marre. "McCain: 'Regrettable' decision," The Hill. June 25, 2007.

External resources

External articles