Unethical Donor Phoner Is Latest McCain Slip-Up

Illegal or not, it's a stumble for last-legs campaign
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2007 9:47 AM CDT
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks on the phone while waiting for Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty before a news conference in St. Paul, Minn., Thursday, June 21, 2007. McCain was in Minnesota for a private...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Facing the wrong end of presidential hopes after two senior staffers deserted his campaign, John McCain stepped into the Senate cloakroom Tuesday and made a call to some big spenders. Trouble is that it's unethical—potentially illegal—to solicit  funds while in the Capitol. The Times reports that the phoner’s legality is unclear, but it’s a critical misfire for the ethics-proud candidate.

This type of call is not uncommon among congressman, but the McCain-Feingold sponsor is a special case, having railed for years against Al Gore for calling donors from the White House. Political watchdog Charlie Cook tells the Times the campaign’s done for either way: “The physicians have left the hospital room and it’s the executors of the estate that are taking over.”