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Fitzgerald Looks to Settle for Just $20,000

Outgoing Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) has given up trying to get back roughly $750,000 still owed to him from his 1998 campaign, according to a debt settlement plan the lame-duck lawmaker recently filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Six years ago, the multimillionaire lawyer from the Chicago area invested more than $14 million of his own fortune in a successful bid to oust his predecessor, then-Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D).

Since that time, he has loaned or donated several million additional dollars to his campaign, FEC records show.

Fitzgerald announced in April 2003 that he would not seek re-election. Instead he plans to return to his home in Iverness, Ill., and run the bank he owns in Palatine, Ill.

Fitzgerald’s debt settlement plan — filed by campaign treasurer Richard Roggeveen — lists a $772,500 debt the campaign still owes to Fitzgerald and offers $20,000 to the retiring Senator as a “settlement.”

The statement provides for no payment to Campaign Tel Ltd., a New Jersey campaign vendor which lists a disputed debt of $45,525 involving services that the company provided to the campaign.

With a cash balance of only $1,458 at the end of March, in lieu of paying Fitzgerald $20,000, the Senator will “take possession of all campaign work product, office equipment and supplies.”

The debt settlement plan must be approved by the FEC.

Fitzgerald is the first Senator retiring in 2005 to file a debt settlement agreement and the only lame duck to be leaving office with a deficit in campaign funds, according to a scan of April filings by other retiring Senators’ campaigns.

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