For some reason, I get spammed by the Democratic Party on nearly a daily basis, often DNC Chairman Howard Dean. Yesterday I received a seemingly personal e-mail -- it opens "Tung --" as if the sender were truly on a first-name basis with me -- from someone claiming to be the DNC's General Counsel. The point of the e-mail was that "John McCain is breaking the law." It continued:
I don't know if you saw the news, but the press covered the complaint all day. John McCain himself directly responded to Governor Dean at a press conference, saying "We're doing exactly what Howard Dean did in a previous election and what the FEC ruled in the case of Congressman Gephardt."
But that's a lie -- John McCain isn't doing what Governor Dean and Congressman Gephardt did at all.
Governor Dean and Congressman Gephardt followed the law and were granted written permission by the FEC to withdraw from the federal matching funds program.
To prove it, we have a copy of the letter Governor Dean received from the FEC in 2003 granting him permission to drop out. If McCain is doing "exactly what Howard Dean did," he'll have no trouble producing a letter of his own.
But you and I know McCain's lying -- he doesn't have a letter like that from the FEC. Not only has he refused to get permission, he's been warned by FEC Chairman David Mason that he can't unilaterally drop out of the program.
Of course, what the e-mail failed to state is that the reason McCain doesn't have the letter from the FEC is that the FEC currently lacks a quorum. And part of the reason that it lacks a quorum is that Senator Barack Obama, among others, has put a hold on one of President Bush's nominees.
I don't know whether Obama's grounds for blocking the nominee are meritorious; I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and think that Obama truly believes that the nominee deserves to be blocked from the seat on the FEC. But it doesn't look very good if he's basically hamstringing his likely Presidential opponent from getting a needed ruling by the FEC. It has the appearance of the same kind of politics that Obama is constantly decrying. Furthermore, I don't know whether McCain's effort to withdraw from the restrictions of public financing are legitimate; they may well be bogus.
But it seems misleading for the DNC to be crowing that McCain "can't" produce his FEC letter when it's the Democrats who are keeping the FEC from being able to do anything.