Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is the only member of Congress that is using his campaign committee to make independent expenditures for other federal candidates which the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) claims is a violation of the McCain-Feingold Act because it exceeds the value of non-cash contributions.
The DCCC argues that either the ad was created in coordination with the candidates or, it was an independent expenditure. The complaint casts doubts that the ads were independent expenditures saying, “It is utterly implausible that the state's most senior Republican, who appeared at a Tea Party rally for these two candidates less than ten days ago, would have commenced this ad blitz without their assent, substantial discussion or material involvement.”
The Federal Election Commission confirms receiving the complaint but did not comment on it since the case was pending.
So far, McCain's campaign committee has spent a total of $266,000 supporting various Republican candidates. Records show that McCain's committee spent $94,600 on media and phone calls in support of Ruth McClung. Also, Jesse Kelly benefited from $91,900 worth of ads.
The Ruth McClung video and the Jesse Kelly video are very similar where Sens. McCain and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., start with “Arizonians are struggling” or “While Arizonian families are struggling.” Then the ad lists few negatives about the Democratic opponent and ends with McCain and Kyl endorsing their candidate.
Records also show that another ad by Friends of John McCain has been produced but not yet released. Friends of John McCain spent $80,500 on media production for candidate David Schweiker, a contender in Arizona’s fifth congressional district. The ad was not mentioned by the DCCC and is not yet posted on the McCain 2010 YouTube page.
CQ reported that the McCain campaign believes the DCCC is a publicity stunt, "grasping for straws” and his communication director Brian Rodgers insisted that “Sen. McCain has always followed the letter and the spirit of the campaign finance law."