McCain & Co. Find New Ways to Circumvent Campaign Finance Laws McCain Wrote

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I said yesterday that running for president makes messes of good men (and women). And I meant it:

…a Republican Party fund aimed at electing governors has started marketing itself as a home for contributions of unlimited size to help Sen. McCain. His 2002 campaign law limits donations to presidential races to try to curtail the influence of wealth.

The Republican Governors Association isn’t subject to those limits, and has long gathered up large donations from individuals and companies. Now it is telling donors it can use their contributions to benefit Sen. McCain in some key battleground states.

That makes the group “the best way to help McCain,” says donor David Hanna, who gave $25,000 — more than 10 times the legal cap of $2,300 for direct gifts to presidential candidates.

The campaign finance system isn’t perfect, and a donor with deep pockets can find a way to funnel money into the system:

The $2,300 limit on contributions to presidential candidates, set by the so-called McCain-Feingold Act of 2002, is the best-known cap on political donations, but it doesn’t apply to all types of fund raising. National parties can accept up to $28,500 and state parties can collect up to $10,000 to spend on federal campaigns. Altogether, individuals can give $108,000 to federal campaigns within each two-year election cycle.

Donors with deep pockets also can avoid limits completely by contributing to groups called 527 organizations, after a provision in the tax code. Those groups can collect uncapped donations from individuals — and also collect from companies and unions, which have been prohibited from giving to parties or candidates since 2002.

The RGA’s executive director, Nick Ayers, says, “We are the equalizer in this campaign.” I smell a FEC complaint from the DNC. Another one, I mean.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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