A lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission, to be filed today in US District Court in Washington, questions the agency's ability to enforce the law and review McCain's decision to opt out of the system.
The Republican presidential candidate, who had been entitled to $5.8 million in federal funds for the primary campaign, decided earlier this year to give up that money so that he could avoid strict spending limits between now and the GOP national convention in September.
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Democratic National Committee officials said yesterday that the election commission is unable to act because four of its six seats are vacant. They want a judge to order the commission to begin an immediate review, or allow the Democratic Party to file a lawsuit against McCain's campaign, challenging his decision.
Tom McMahon, the party's executive director, said "there is a compelling public interest in determining whether Senator McCain agreed to participate in the matching funds program so he could get a loan for his campaign, then violated the terms of that agreement so he could ignore the spending cap and raise unlimited money from lobbyists and special interests."
The suit seeks civil fines or an order barring McCain from exceeding spending limits. The Republican National Committee called the suit "total nonsense." "It is now clear that the trial-lawyer Democrats' idea of campaigning for president is to hire lawyers and file frivolous lawsuits," said spokesman Alex Conant.
© 2008 Associated Press