Local Politics

FEC panel says Edwards owes $2.4M

Posted July 19, 2011 6:35 p.m. EDT

— The campaign of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards might owe the federal government almost $2.4 million, following an audit of the campaign's finances.

The Audit Division of the Federal Elections Commission found the Edwards campaign received $2.1 million in matching funds for which it wasn't eligible. The division also recommended that the campaign pay the U.S. Treasury $267,000 for "stale dated checks," which are refund checks that donors never cashed after contributing more than they were legally allowed.

The campaign finance audit also accused the Edwards campaign of misstating its cash on hand and noted that the campaign failed to itemize $4.2 million in loan repayments.

The FEC will meet Thursday to consider the audit's recommendations.

A federal grand jury last month indicted Edwards on six felony charges related to money that was used to cover up his affair and child with Rielle Hunter, a videographer who chronicled his 2008 presidential campaign.

Federal prosecutors say Edwards accepted $900,000 in contributions from heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon and Texas banker Fred Barron – far above the legal limit – and filed false campaign finance reports to hide the donations.

Edwards has maintained that the contributions were gifts and didn't need to be reported. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled to go to trial in October.