Do As I Say, Not As I Do

John McCain fancies himself as a great reformer of our campaign finance system. Unfortunately he does not seem to be obeying some of his own rules regarding his own campaign travel. He had a stated policy of not using aircraft of companies with lobbying interests in Washington for campaign travel. The Boston Globe identified campaign reimbursements to at least 10 corporations for private jet transport. Unfortunately, he is not only violating his own internal policies on the issue, but he is also violating at least the spirit of a relatively new campaign finance law that he himself supported.

The New York Times reported this weekend that John McCain used a corporate jet owned by a company headed by his wife. For five of the seven months, the plane was used almost exclusively for campaign-related purposes. The campaign paid a total of $241,149 for use of the plane during the seven month period. According to the New York Times analysis, that is approximately what it would cost to charter a similar jet for only a month or two at the most.

Just last year John McCain backed a law that requires campaigns to pay charter rates when using corporate jets rather than the cheaper first-class fares. McCain was able to fly so inexpensively because the law exempts aircraft owned by a candidate or their family or by a privately held company that they control. Although many sought for that loophole to be closed, John McCain has certainly benefited from it. Although his actions have not violated the letter of the law, they have certainly violated the spirit of it. Not an acceptable standard for someone that fancies himself a reformer with a squeaky clean image.

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