Republican presidential hopeful John McCain won a round against Democrats on Thursday when the Federal Election Commission rejected their contention that he violated campaign finance laws during the GOP primary.

The FEC’s draft opinion affirms McCain’s right to bypass the public financing system and the strict spending limits that come with it. That was a rejection of the Democratic National Committee’s complaint asserting that McCain’s campaign had wrongly received loans based on his participation in public financing before later withdrawing from that system.

The DNC pointed to a section of campaign finance law that bars candidates from withdrawing from the public system if the candidate has “pledged public funds as security for private financing.”

Lawyers for the FEC concluded that McCain did not pledge to use public financing as collateral for the loans and did not violate the law.