Suddenly... after almost 4 years the money has been found!
Rep. Dennis Kucinich's presidential campaign must repay $52,443 to taxpayers
Ride in Air Force One = Yes vote
|Charles Dharapak, Associated PressRep. Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland flew on Air Force One last year as a guest of President Obama.|
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Election Commission on Thursday ordered Rep. Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign to give taxpayers a $52,443 refund, ending a dispute that's lasted nearly four years.
Kucinich's 2004 campaign got $3.3 million in matching funds from the U.S. Treasury, but wasn't supposed to use any of it after March 4, 2004, when his eligibility for matching funds expired because he failed to receive 10 percent of the vote in two consecutive primary elections.
Despite that, the FEC found the Cleveland Democratic congressman used at least $175,696 that contained some matching funds to keep campaigning until July 29, when the Democratic party officially picked John Kerry as its nominee.
Although Kucinich contended he campaigned only with privately raised cash after the ineligibility date, FEC found the $1.9 million Kucinich spent after his eligibility expired exceeded the $1.7 million he collected in that time.
Because the campaign "did not receive sufficient private contributions to cover the total amount that it spent on continuing to campaign expenses, it had to use matching funds to pay for some of those expenses instead," the FEC ruling said.
The FEC sought more than $130,000 from Kucinich after its initial 2007 audit, but reduced the amount after years of appeals from Kucinich.
Kucinich campaign treasurer Donald J. McTigue filed a letter with FEC on Wednesday that said the campaign is "willing to raise additional contributions" to make the repayment and will not exercise its right to appeal although it "respectfully disagrees with the basis for the repayment determination."
"We are pleased with the way it turned out," (he means the olive pit) McTigue said in an interview.