Perhaps the most ill-timed press release of the 2008 campaign arrived shortly after 1:30 p.m. today, sent by the Republican National Committee.
The release forwarded word that the California Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, in part because of a visit Sen. Barack Obama made to his dying grandmother.
“Obama for America violated federal law by converting its campaign funds to Senator Obama’s personal use,” the release stated. “Senator Obama recently traveled to Hawaii to visit his sick grandmother. This was the right thing for any grandson to do — at his own expense — but it was not travel that his campaign may fund.”
At issue was whether the trip should have been paid for with campaign funds, based on the law that forbids candidates from using such funds to pay for personal travel. The Obama campaign said the trip had been vetted with lawyers beforehand and was allowable. The Republicans argued that, because Obama did not campaign during the quick journey to Hawaii, it should not have been a campaign expense.
But filing the complaint today now seems to have been ill-advised, if not legally, then certainly politically.
Obama and his sister released a statement this afternoon announcing that their grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, died peacefully after a battle with cancer.