John Edwards campaign ordered to repay $2.3 million in matching funds

The Federal Elections Commission this morning approved its auditors’ recommendation that John Edwards presidential campaign committee pay back about $2.3 million, most of which was in the form of federal matching funds it received after he pulled out of the race in January 2008.

The action won’t take effect until the audit is finalized in about 30 days, and the campaign committee can still contest the findings if it can come up with documents to support its position. But the lack of documentation has been an ongoing issue in the audit.

Several members of the six-member commission stressed that the audit was routine, since every presidential candidate who receives federal matching money is audited.

“Basically, this is a math problem,” Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said in the hearing in Washington, D.C. “When he stopped running for president we take a look at, as of that point in time, what were the net outstanding campaign obligations? What did he owe? We compare that against how much money he got in matching funds. It’s either a subtraction or an addition problem.”

Read more coverage of the John Edwards case atwww.newsobserver.com

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