F.E.C. commissioners voted unanimously to accept a draft memorandum from its auditing division recommending the Edwards campaign has to repay $2.3 m. The auditors found that Mr. Edwards had received more than $2 million in federal matching funds to which he was not entitled, misstated its cash-on-hand balance by nearly $100,000, failed to itemize loan repayments of more than $4 million, and stale-dated at least 128 checks worth $141,808. The “stale-dated” checks are usually checks that are issued to repay contributions that were over federal limits that donors never get around to cashing.
Mr. Edwards has challenged the findings of the audit and insisted his campaign does not owe the federal government anything.
The Edwards campaign took in $57 million, including $7.4 million in matching funds and $39.6 million in contributions from individuals. By comparison, Joe Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign took in nearly $13 million, including about $860,000 in matching funds. Biden was ordered to repay about $220,000 to the treasury.
Federal law requires the Federal Election Commission to audit every political committee set up by a candidate who gets public funds for a primary election campaign.The ex-senator from North Carolina who is already facing other legal problems, dropped out of the Presidential race Jan. 30, 2008. Edwards who was indicted June 3, 2011 on federal criminal charges that he accepted nearly $1 million from two supporters to hide his pregnant mistress, campaign worker Rielle Hunte, while he was seeking the nomination. He has pleaded not guilty. A criminal trial is tentatively set to begin this October.