Edwards campaign repays taxpayers $2.1 million

AP News

4/10/2012 2:11:35 PM - AP News

John Edwards' campaign has repaid more than $2.1 million in public matching funds received after the Democrat dropped out of the 2008 presidential primary amid a sex scandal.

Federal Election Commission spokeswoman Judith Ingram confirmed Tuesday that the agency had received the money. The bipartisan election commission ruled unanimously last year that Edwards was improperly paid the taxpayer money after he suspended his campaign on Jan. 30, 2008.

Edwards appealed that ruling, which the FEC upheld March 12. The campaign was given 30 days to send a check to the U.S. Treasury, a deadline set to expire this week.

Edwards' campaign finance attorney Patricia A. Fiori did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Edwards received more than $12.8 million in public matching funds during the 2008 election cycle. Of that money, the campaign reported spending all but about $2.1 million by the end of last year. Reports showed the defunct campaign spent $836,712 in 2011 expenses, much of it on legal fees. There was also spending for airfare, hotel rooms, bottled water and other bills, according to the reports.

In 2004, Edwards was the running mate of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, who narrowly lost to President George W. Bush. The former North Carolina senator ran again in 2008, but saw his political career collapse with allegations of an extramarital affair with a campaign videographer.

He now faces a criminal trial set to begin Thursday in Greensboro over federal charges over campaign finance violations related to nearly $1 million paid by two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House.

Edwards has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and as much as $1.5 million in fines.

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