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McCain Opts Out Of Public Matching Funds

With the Republican nomination now all but his, John McCain is opting out of the public financing program that – back when his campaign was running on fumes – seemed to be the only way for him to maintain any sort of viability.

According to the Associated Press, McCain informed the Federal Election Commission and the Treasury Department that he was withdrawing from the public financing system, which would have infused his campaign with $5.8 million in matching funds but also required him to abide by spending restrictions that would likely prove fatal in a general election against either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Both Democrats long ago said they would forgo the public financing system.

McCain raised just shy of $10 million in the last quarter of 2007, but actually had more debt than cash on hand. However, the campaign reported raising $7 million in the first three weeks of January – a pace that has almost certainly accelerated now that the Arizona senator is his party's presumed nominee. Now, McCain will be able to spend that money however, and wherever, he wants.