The Democratic Party plans to file a complaint with federal regulators that accuses Republican John McCain's presidential campaign of various violations of campaign finance law.
In a letter to the Federal Election Commission to be submitted Monday, the Democratic National Committee alleges McCain has received donations from 6,653 individuals who exceeded the legal $2,300 limit by at least $1,000 and 23 donation in excess of $50 from anonymous donors. The DNC cited one donor who appeared to have given more than $56,000.
The complaint is based in part on data that the McCain campaign provides on its Web site _ an extra step of disclosure not required by election laws. The campaign of Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, does not disclose as much information about its donors as McCain does. Obama only reports the identities of donors who give $200 or more _ the legal requirement.
The McCain campaign said Sunday that transactions on its Web site are only updated monthly and do not necessarily reflect corrections that the campaign routinely undertakes.
Complaints to the FEC are not uncommon. The Republican National Committee has filed two complaints this month alleging that Obama's campaign has received illegal contributions from foreigners and donations that exceed federal limits.
In their own complaint, Democrats cite the McCain campaign's refund of $50,000 raised by a Jordanian citizen and mentions a fundraising appeal from McCain mistakenly sent to Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin. Foreign nationals are prohibited from contributing to political campaigns.
"The McCain campaign's lack of disclosure and disregard for the law he helped write raises serious questions about John McCain's commitment to the openness and transparency the voters expect from their leaders," said DNC General Counsel Joe Sandler.
In a rebuttal to the complaint, McCain's camp said it collects all anonymous donations of $50 or more and donates them to charity. Donors who contribute more than the legal limit are asked to redesignate their contributions to their spouses or to another McCain account. Other excess contributions are refunded, the campaign said. It said the campaign Web site is updated only once a month and often does not reflect those changes.
The campaign said the mistaken solicitation to Churkin occurred because the campaign's direct mail vendor had rented a list from Foreign Affairs magazine that did not identify the address as the Russian embassy.
"This is a joke, a sad publicity stunt to divert attention from the recent controversies surrounding Barack Obama's shady fundraising practices, and his campaign's complete refusal to disclose the sources of hundreds of millions of his contributions," McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said. "Obviously all of our fundraising strictly follows all campaign finance regulations, which provide for 60 days to reconcile all contributions."
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