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FEC Questions Bachmann Donations

The Federal Election Commission has asked Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for more information about her fall campaign finance report, the results of which could lead to legal or financial penalties.

A darling of tea party activists across the country, Bachmann raised more than $13 million during her 2010 re-election campaign. Her opponent, Democratic state Sen. Tarryl Clark, raised $4.6 million, making their battle the most expensive House race in the country. Bachmann easily defeated Clark, 53 percent to 40 percent.

The letter from campaign finance analyst Benjamin Holly first asked Bachmann treasurer Andy Parrish to itemize nearly $1.5 million in individual contributions. Holly notes that when a donor gives more than $200 in an election, information about him or her must be included.

The FEC also noted that, judging by her first report following the Nov. 2 elections, Bachmann “may have failed to file one or more of the required 48-hour notices regarding ‘last minute’ contributions.” Campaign committees are required to file any contributions of $1,000 or more within 48 hours anytime from two to 20 days away from an election. In a related discrepancy, the letter noted three contributions listed in 48-hour notices that were not noted in the overall post-general election report.

Finally, the FEC found three refunds Bachmann listed but couldn’t find when those donations were originally given.

Bachmann is required to respond by Thursday. Her office didn’t return a request for comment.