Brad Smith and John McCain:

Law professor and FEC Chairman Brad Smith describes his fractious relationship with Sen. John McCain (from the Washington Times):

Smith and McCain

Bradley Smith is leaving Washington with a few words in regard to Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who opposed Mr. Smith's appointment to the Federal Election Commission five years ago.

Mr. Smith, who is returning to Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, earned the enmity of Mr. McCain and other would-be campaign finance reformers by arguing that such legislation was hopelessly misguided.

"McCain has always refused to meet with me," Mr. Smith told National Review's Byron York for the July 18 issue of the magazine.

"I tried to meet him once at a public hearing. He was at the table, and I went up and I said, 'Senator,' and I held out my hand. And he instinctively took my hand, and then he looked up and realized who it was, and he yanked his hand away and said, 'I'm not going to shake your hand. You're a bully and a coward, and you have no regard for the Constitution. I don't have to talk to you. I'm not going to talk to you.' It was right in front of a large number of people."

When Mr. York asked whether the senator had really called him a bully and a coward, Mr. Smith replied: "Uh-huh. And corrupt, too. He always calls me corrupt. And my wife says, 'If you're corrupt, you're the worst corrupt person I've ever seen. Where are the fur coats? The watches? The cars? The fancy trips?'?"

Mr. Smith said he doesn't think Mr. McCain understands his own signature issue.

"He is woefully ill-informed on campaign finance issues," Mr. Smith said. "I have seen him repeatedly misstate what the law is, misstate what court decisions held, and I think that's one reason he gets so angry when he talks about it. It's because he doesn't really understand what a complex issue it is, what a difficult issue it is, he doesn't understand the court hearings, he doesn't understand how we've gotten where we are -- so he just gets mad."