Chimpy is champing at the bit to sue those shadowy 527 groups… or maybe the Federal Election Commission, it’s not clear. But, dammit, he’s gonna sue somebody, someday, right?
Q McCain says he’s fed up with these Swift Boat ads. Is the President willing to go any further than what he said the other day?
MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, thank you for bringing that up. The President, also, on board Air Force One, called Senator McCain this morning. And the President said he wanted to work together to pursue court action to shut down all the ads and activity by these shadowy 527 groups. And the President said if the court action doesn’t work, then he would be willing to pursue legislative action and work with Senator McCain on that.
Q What does he mean by court action?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, pursue — pursuing court action, working with — and pursuing court action to shut down these — shut down this activity by these 527 groups that are funded with unregulated soft money. This is what we thought we got rid of when the President signed the campaign finance reforms into law. And so —
Q So who files — who files the lawsuit, then?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, and I’ll try to get you a little bit more information on this, but there’s — there have been previous complaints filed against the FEC. The FEC had an opportunity to act with, I think it’s within a 100-day — 120-day period. They did not act. And so that allows those who had filed those complaints to pursue action against the FEC. I know Senator McCain had filed complaints with the FEC; we had, as well. And so the President looks forward to working with Senator McCain to pursue court action to shut down all of this activity by these shadowy groups.
Q So is the Justice Department going to get involved in this?
Q He would be the one who be going to the —
MR. McCLELLAN: He called them this morning, and we’ll provide you more detail as we move forward and work together, through court action, to shut these groups down.
Q So you are asking Justice to get involved, then?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, we’ll get you more details as we move forward together. But we want to pursue court action.
Q Can you tell me what the legal basis would be for taking court action?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, yes, that’s why I said, if you go back, you might want to look at some of this. I’ll try and get you more details on the ground. But because of the complaints — the complaints have been pursued with the FEC, and there’s a window of opportunity for the FEC to pursue action. They failed to pursue that action then. You can pursue court action following that if they don’t act within that time period.
MR. McCLELLAN: Okay, thank you.
Q Is it a lawsuit?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes. Yes, it would be.
Q But none of it would happen until after the election, correct? I mean, the FEC —
MR. McCLELLAN: There would be a lawsuit.
Q But the FEC can’t act on this stuff until after the election.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, there have been complaints previously filed with the FEC that they did not act on to shut — to shut down this activity.
MR. McCLELLAN: We would be asking the court to force the FEC to shut down this activity.
Q Force the FEC?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes. It would be asking the courts to — yes, since the FEC failed to act, we would now be asking the courts to force the FEC to act to shut down these — shut down all this activity.
Q It’s not directly — so the case is not directly against the 527s, it’s against the FEC.
MR. McCLELLAN: It’s going to the courts to ask them to force the FEC to shut down all this activity.