Senator John McCain's presidential campaign seems to have gotten itself into a little campaign finance mess by initially pledging to accept public financing, in exchange for various spending limits, and then changing its mind. Former FEC Commissioner Brad Smith provides a good overview of the law and the issues here. It provides all the background you need to understand the story.
The wonderful irony of government involvement in funding political campaigns -- that is, giving your tax dollars to candidates and parties to use for convention balloon drops, negative TV ads, and campaign robocalls -- is that it actually increases the perception of corruption in politics and distracts from discussion of political issues. Rarely has this phenomenon been so clearly illustrated as in the current flap over whether or not Senator McCain is committed to using tax dollars -- with accompanying spending limitations -- prior to his formal nomination at the GOP Convention in September.
The other delicious irony is that there are few who can match McCain's fervor for strict enforcement of campaign finance laws. Any chance this experience will change his mind?