Bush, Gore Campaign Costs Questioned
Wednesday, December 11, 2002; Page A04
The Federal Election Commission's auditing staff has proposed that the Bush 2000 campaign repay $723,176 to the U.S. Treasury, and that the Gore 2000 campaign repay $372,245, because of accounting and spending irregularities.
The recommendations, which involve allegations of inaccurate accounting, excessive shifting of costs to state parties and failure to pay charter rates for some corporate jets, are subject to review by the FEC when it meets tomorrow.
The commission often reduces recommended paybacks, which are not fines. Because both election committees accepted public money for all or part of the campaign, they are subject to guidelines on allocating costs and paying for various services. Violations call for government reimbursements.
Larry Noble, a former FEC general counsel who now heads the Center for Responsive Politics, played down the significance of the audits, saying they involve relatively commonplace issues. State Republican parties paid three-fourths of the cost of a $2 million phone bank used by the Bush campaign. The campaign should have paid half, the FEC staff contended.
As for Gore's campaign, the FEC staff said certain costs should have been split 50-50 between the primary and general election committees, but the Gore committee allocated 61 percent to the primary and 39 percent to the general election.
-- Thomas B. Edsall
© 2002 The Washington Post Company