Fred Wertheimer Clarifies

A statement about his statement:

Democracy 21 did not say that Senator John McCain cannot withdraw from the presidential primary public financing system until the Federal Election Commission makes a decision in this case.

We said that the shut down of the FEC has “taken center stage” because there is no agency to make a legal determination of whether McCain can or cannot withdraw from the public financing system. That means that their will be no resolution of the legal question involved here until the agency is re-constituted to decide the legal issue, and if such an FEC decision is appealed, the case is decided by the courts.

The importance of the legal question, and the need for it to be resolved quickly, is what has shed light on the deadlock in the Senate over the confirmation of four pending nominees to serve as FEC commissioners – a deadlock caused by Senator Mitch McConnell’s refusal to allow a simple up-or-down vote on each of the four pending nominees.

Democracy 21 did not take a position on whether McCain can or cannot legally withdraw from the system. That question, we said, raises “novel and complex” issues of both campaign finance and commercial banking law that will need to be decided by the FEC and potentially by the courts.