John Edwards may have to repay $2M

Former presidential candidate John Edwards makes a statement to the media following a federal court appearance in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, June 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

July 19, 2011 4:54:35 PM PDT
The Federal Election Commission says former U.S. Senator John Edwards received $2.1 million in federal matching money after he dropped out of the presidential race, and he was not entitled to that money.

Edwards ended his run for the White House in January 2008, nearly three-and-a-half years ago, but he has continued spending an average of $60,000 a month. That's federal matching money, public money and money from contributors.

Now, the FEC is recommending the Edwards campaign repay the money to the federal government.

The audit issued the following findings:

  • Matching funds received in excess of entitlement
  • Misstatement of financial activity
  • Failure to itemize loan repayments
  • Stale-dated checks

The ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team has been digging into the Edwards campaign for months and discovered that according to federal campaign finance laws, Edwards can use what's left in his campaign fund for a variety of things, including paying his legal defense. He was recently indicted on felony campaign finance charges.

Kitty Stockton, a Chapel Hill realtor, is asking for a $500 refund for the donation she made to the Edwards campaign.

On Thursday, the FEC will hold a meeting in Washington to decide if Edwards should repay the money. The campaign has $2.6 million dollars in its account.

Edwards's lawyers are challenging the findings, saying they incurred "unanticipated expenses" related to the Justice Department's investigation.

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