Local Politics

Edwards campaign to appeal FEC ruling

Posted August 5, 2011 11:49 a.m. EDT

— The campaign of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards plans to appeal a ruling by the Federal Election Commission that Edwards must pay the government more than $2.2 million that it shouldn't have received.

The FEC entered its final ruling on the case Friday.

A recent FEC audit determined that the Edwards campaign received $2.1 million in matching funds for which it wasn't eligible. The commission also found that the campaign had $141,000 in "stale dated checks," which are refund checks that donors never cashed after contributing more than the legal limit, according to the audit.

The 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.

Patricia Fiori, a lawyer representing the campaign, has said that the FEC's decision is based on accounting errors and not improper spending or a violation of any law.

A federal grand jury has 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.