McCain on campaign finance: 'The system is broken'
CNN's Holly Gilbert
(CNN) - "Uninformed, arrogant, naive." Sen. John McCain used those three words in an interview Sunday to slam the Citizens United decision, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that paved the way for political donations from corporations and special interest groups.
Pressed on the issue of campaign cash and whether it is unduly influencing this year's presidential campaign, the Republican senator from Arizona maintained that allowing an "incredible amount of money" to enter political races opens the door for corruption.
"I think there will be scandals associated with the worst decision of the United States Supreme Court in the 21st century," McCain said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
The GOP senator suggested earlier Supreme Court benches would have ruled differently in the case.
"That's why we miss people like William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O'Connor who had some experience with - with congressional and other races, with the political arena."
Asked about Nevada billionaire and GOP financier Sheldon Adleson's recent pledge, along with his wife Miriam, of $10 million to the super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, McCain iterated it's the threat of not just one but many potential donors that hurts the electoral system.
"The whole system is broken and it's a wash. I don't pick out Mr. Adleson any more than I pick out Mr. Trumka," McCain said, referring to the AFL-CIO leader who helped finance Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
"I've always been concerned about the labor unions who take money from their union members and without their permission contribute to causes they may not support," McCain continued.
Casino owner Sheldon Adleson gained notoriety for backing former GOP candidate Newt Gingrich with more than $20 million in donations to the pro-Gingrich super PAC Winning our Future during the Republican primaries.
Doubts about whether Adleson would eventually back Romney evaporated when he and his wife gave $10 million to the pro-Romney super PAC in mid-June. Since then, Adleson has made comments he may contribute as much as $100 million to the GOP presidential candidate.
McCain says casino mogul is putting ‘foreign money’ into 2012 campaign
By Justin Sink - 06/15/12 12:43 PM ET
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Friday said Mitt Romney is benefiting indirectly from "foreign money" after casino mogul Sheldon Adelson pledged $10 million to a super-PAC that supports his presidential bid.
"Much of Mr. Adelson's casino profits that go to him come from his casino in Macau, which says that obviously, maybe in a roundabout way foreign money is coming into an American political campaign," McCain told PBS's "News Hour."
Adelson, a prominent conservative donor who supported Newt Gingrich in the GOP primary, made his donation earlier this week after a face-to-face meeting with Romney in Las Vegas. A source close to Adelson told Forbes that the casino mogul is ready to do "whatever it takes" to defeat President Obama, including "limitless" donations to the campaign. Adelson told Forbes he could spend as much as $100 million on politics in 2012.
Campaign finance reform has been a signature issue for McCain, who endorsed Romney for president during the GOP primaries. The Arizona lawmaker said he is concerned about the donation to the Restore Our Future super-PAC that supports Romney.
"That is a great deal of money, and we need a level playing field and we need to go back to the realization ... that we have to have a limit on the flow of money, and corporations are not people," McCain said.
McCain blasted the 2010 Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which freed individuals and corporations to give to outside groups by striking down parts of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law.
"There will be scandals, there's just too much money washing around Washington today ... I'm afraid we're for a very bleak period in American politics," McCain said. "To somehow view money as not having a corrupting effect on elections flies in the face of reality."
McCain also called the Citizens United decision "the most misguided, naïve, uninformed, egregious decision of the United States Supreme Court in the 21st Century."