McCain-Feingold Helps McCain, Hurts Rivals in 2008
Mike Huckabee points out a little-known fact about the McCain-Feingold Act: It will be very helpful to John McCain in his 2008 presidential run and harmful to many of his rivals.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Friday said potential 2008 presidential rival John McCain’s campaign finance reforms gives the Republican senator an advantage over other candidates by allowing him to transfer money easily.
“If you’re a senator, you can take the money you raise in a Senate campaign and transfer it to a presidential, but you can’t take money you raise in a state campaign and transfer that to a federal campaign,” Huckabee, a Republican, told The Associated Press in an interview Friday. “McCain was very smart in creating a system where he could take all of this Senate money that he had and turn it over to his presidential campaign to give him a distinct advantage over anyone else who ran,” he said.
I’m sure that’s just a happy coincidence. McCain is, after all, as honest as the day is long, a straight shooting straight talking kind of guy who wants to end the evils of money in politics. That the reforms he proposed just happened to give him a boatload of ready cash that doesn’t count against the cap is just something he’ll have to live with.
In all seriousness, I don’t think McCain intended to rig the system in his favor. Indeed, since he’s the frontrunner, limits on contributions probably handicap him more than other candidates. But, as the critics of campaign finance reform have argued from the beginning, limits on political contributions almost by definition become an incumbent protection program. Moreover, they always produce harmful unintended consequences as people find loopholes.