Now, to prevent further scrutiny from the FEC, he's just finding people to break the rules for him.
His campaign was given a discount of about 80 percent off the standard booking rate for Rosewood Hall. In September, Jefferson County Democrats rented the same facility and were charged the full rate.
The McCain campaign was charged $250 to use two rooms in the hall, which normally would book for $1,200 on a weeknight. The campaign also was given free labor from Homewood City Jail inmates to set up tables and chairs for the event, avoiding a $100 set-up fee, but did pay a standard $50 cleaning fee.
Homewood Mayor Barry McCulley said the rental rate was discounted because the event was on Monday, a slow day for business. City Council members say they always vote on such discounts but didn't get a say in this deal.
McCulley said he and City Council President Ginger Busby agreed on the lower rate for McCain's event. He said minor policy changes such as this don't require council approval.
Busby says there was a miscommunication.
"The mayor asked me if the hall could be free for the McCain event, and I said absolutely not," Busby said. "He then asked if it was appropriate to charge a lesser fee for Mondays. I said as long as it didn't cost the city money, it could be considered."
Busby said she did not know what the charge was or that city inmates were involved. She didn't attend the event and was at a soccer game Monday night, she said.
City Councilman David Hooks said that the council typically debates and votes each time there is a request to discount or waive the rent, but that didn't happen this time.
"I'd be concerned with the legal ramifications of that, from the city's perspective," Hooks said. "It could be a problem for the city to have made in-kind donations to a political candidate by charging less rent or having inmates do work for the event."