McCain's credit card debt rises in the past year

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his family racked up at least $295,000 in credit card debt last year, according to a financial disclosure report released Friday.

The fortune of the 2008 Republican presidential candidate and his wife was often a target for Democrats during his campaign for the White House. And their 2008 credit card debt was higher than what they reported in 2007.

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At least four charge cards are credited to McCain, his wife Cindy McCain and an unnamed dependent child, according to the report.

The Arizona Republican has a joint J.P. Morgan Chase Bank charge card with his spouse that had liabilities of $15,001 to $50,000 during 2008. That is a slight jump from 2007, when McCain had debt of $10,001 to $15,000 on that account.

Cindy McCain has two American Express charge cards in her name. One had $250,001 to $500,000 in liabilities — again a rise from 2007 when the debt was $100,001 to $250,000 — while the other had $15,001 to $50,000 in debt, according to the report. The debt on the second card was actually pared down; it was $100,001 to $250,000 in 2007.

An unnamed dependent child also had a charge card with American Express that had debt of $15,001 to $50,000, which was level with McCain’s 2007 financial disclosure report.

The three American Express cards credited to McCain’s spouse and his child all had a zero percent interest rate.

Under ethics rules, lawmakers are required to report any liabilities over $10,000 that were incurred at any time during the reporting period — in this case, the calendar year of 2008. That said, it is possible theMcCains paid off their credit card debt by now.

McCain and other lawmakers do not have to report liabilities on their mortgages on their personal residences; loans taken out on automobiles or furniture; or debt owed to relatives due to exemptions in congressional ethics rules.

The senator and his family’s credit liabilities for 2008 rose from the previous year. In 2007, the McCains reported at least $225,000 in credit card debt on four charge cards, according to the senator’s financial disclosure report for that year.

Cindy McCain and an unnamed dependent child also had several large real estate transactions in 2008. She and the child sold land in Chandler, Ariz., for more than $1 million. They also bought a residential property held for investment in Coronado, Calif. for more than $1 million.

Messages left with McCain’s Senate office were not immediately returned.