I just received an interesting email from a reader of this blog, who prefers to remain anonymous, and who writes:
Yesterday’s New York Times ran an article about John McCain having placed a call to major donors/fundraisers from the Senate cloakroom and reviewed the possibility that he broke the law in so doing. “Senate ethics rules expressly forbid lawmakers to engage in campaign activities inside Senate facilities,” the story said. “If Mr. McCain solicited campaign contributions on a call from government property, that would be a violation of federal criminal law as well.”
But the Times missed an equally problematic situation in its own reporting on July 11, when a front-page story began, “After months of mounting problems in his presidential campaign, Senator John McCain sat down with his two top political aides on Monday for what turned out to be a loud and acrimonious discussion in his Senate office. On Tuesday morning, as Mr. McCain stood on the Senate floor opposing a withdrawal from Iraq, his campaign announced that the two men were departing.”
The problem here is that it’s absolutely illegal to do any type of electioneering on government property, especially in a House or Senate office. Clearly, there’s a pattern here. McCain is Mr. Clean but plays by different rules. He’s using Senate resources for campaign purposes, while the rules clearly stipulate that congressmen and employees cannot do so.
This is not the sort of thing for which McCain should be shackled and led away to prison, but it does expose a certain hypocrisy on his part. It also suggests that his campaign really is in a state of chaos: providing information that acknowledges lawbreaking in the very first sentence of a New York Times story really isn’t smart politics.