Checking the Record

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Cenk Uygur is an attorney, host of the radio program The Young Turks and a regular contributor to Huffington Post. He's also a rather disenchanted former support of Sen. John McCain (R) and in this article for Politico he expresses his frustration on a number of issues, including McCain's unclear position on public financing of campaigns.

Here's what Uygur has trouble with:

The top issue for McCain has been lobbying reform. That is, until 2008. The man who helped build the public financing apparatus in America is now rejecting public financing in the primaries. But it gets worse.

Earlier in his campaign, McCain received a private loan based on the assurance that he would take public financing in the Republican primaries. The FEC rules are very clear on this matter. If you use the promise of public financing to get private loans, you must accept public financing. That’s proving very inconvenient for McCain, who is near the cap of what he could spend in the primaries if he took public financing. So he has unilaterally decided to not follow the FEC rules.



It's a frustration we've expressed as well. Sen. McCain has been a stalwart support of Clean Elections public financing for state elections, including his home state of Arizona, but won't support public financing of congressional elections and hasn't yet signed on to efforts to repair the public financing program for presidential races despite his own attempts to opt out of the program for the primary elections because it's critically underfunded.

The question of opting in to public financing for the presidential election is tricky because of this underfunding, but McCain could go a long way towards re-establishing his reformer credentials by supporting efforts to push big money out of politics by fixing the presidential system, and passing the Fair Elections Now Act to bring full public financing to congressional elections.