SarahPAC says it resolved problems with contributions

FEC had contacted committee about going over campaign limit

Posted: Sunday, November 01, 2009

ANCHORAGE - Papers filed with the Federal Elections Commission show former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's political action committee has resolved problems with excessive contributions to Republicans.

The FEC had found that SarahPAC contributed $5,000 to Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. That's more than double the $2,400 limit allowed per federal candidate per election by non-multicandidate political committees, as SarahPAC was during the FEC's six-month filing period ending June 30.

SarahPAC has since qualified in the multicandidate category, which has a $5,000 election limit per candidate.

SarahPAC treasurer Tim Crawford said the contributions under the lower limit were redesignated so that McCain and Murkowski received $2,400 for the 2010 primary and another $2,400 for the general election.

Each senator has returned the remaining $200 to SarahPAC. McCain was the Republican presidential nominee last year and Palin was his running mate.

The contribution issue was a moot point by the time SarahPAC was notified by the FEC in an Aug. 19 letter, Crawford said.

"We had already noticed it and everything had been done," he said Friday. "The FEC sends out thousands of these and so you say, 'OK,' and you give them what they need."

FEC spokesman Christian Hilland said to qualify for the multicandidate designation, a political committee must be registered with the agency for six months. It must receive contributions from at least 51 individuals or PACs and make contributions to five federal candidates.

SarahPAC noted the change in amended papers returned to the FEC in late September as due.

Crawford said beside McCain and Murkowski, three other Republicans have received contributions. SarahPAC sent $1,000 apiece to U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and former Congressman Rob Portman, seeking to replace Republican U.S. Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio who is not seeking re-election in 2010.

In its August notice, the FEC also sought more information on work people were paid that was listed on the SarahPAC disclosure report. The amendment report provides additional details about the nature of the work. Fundraising expense, for example, now adds the words Internet and credit.

Hilland said the FEC does not discuss ongoing matters, but added that such notices from the agency are common. FEC analysts assess amended documents to make sure nothing remains outstanding, said Hilland, adding that noncompliance issues are generally made public.

"If everything is hunky-dory, nothing (further) is released publicly," Hilland said.

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