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FEC Warns Daschle on Expenses

The Federal Election Commission sent a letter last month warning former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) of a potential violation of campaign finance law.

The missive, dated June 14, informed Daschle that during the first three months of 2005 he spent in excess of $5,000 from his principal campaign committee (“A Lot of People Supporting Tom Daschle”) and must either file a statement of candidacy for 2010 or “disavow these activities.”

Former Daschle campaign manager Steve Hildebrand said his former boss has no plans to run for the Senate or any other office five years from now and added that the $144,000 he spent from Jan. 1 to April 30 was aimed at closing down the 2004 campaign.

“This is a very routine inquiry from the FEC following a Senate race,” Hildebrand said.

He also pointed out that now Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) received a similar letter from the FEC following his unsuccessful 2002 campaign against Sen. Tim Johnson (D).

According to a July 18 letter from Daschle assistant treasurer Helen Majusiak to the FEC, “all disbursements designated for the 2010 cycle were related to winding down expenses for the 2004 campaign.”

As for the $42,000 the committee raised in the period, Majusiak said it was “due solely to interest, sale of equipment or refunds.”

Daschle closed April with $671,000 on hand after raising close to $21 million in his narrow 2004 loss. Thune raised $16 million for his campaign.

The South Dakota Democrat has three options to disburse those dollars: He can make donations to candidates for federal office, give the money to a nonprofit organization or contribute to a nonfederal committee.

Daschle may not, however, transfer the cash to Dedicated Americans for the Senate and the House, the leadership political action committee that he plans to keep active.

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