These have not been good days for John Edwards. Earlier this year, the former North Carolina senator and presidential candidate was indicted on charges that he used nearly $1 million in campaign contributions to keep the lid on an affair. Yesterday the Federal Elections Commission ordered Edwards’ presidential campaign committee to repay $2.3 million in federal matching funds he received for his 2008 presidential campaign (See article). Simply stated, FEC auditors believe the Edwards campaign overstated its expenses and understated its available cash on hand.
One of the key issues here is what the FEC allows as permissible expenses. FEC allows campaigns to legitimately use funds for legal expenses – as long as the expenses are counted against the limit the FEC has placed on how much can be used on “winding-down” costs. Edwards’s attorneys feel differently
No doubt some of these legal expenses are linked to Edwards’ ongoing federal criminal trial. Campaign attorneys say they are providing the Department of Justice with “extensive information.”