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THE RACE TO THE WHITE HOUSE

FEC Finds Bush Camp Underpaid Air Carriers

March 09, 2004|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Bush's campaign paid air charter services $95,509 less than it should have during the 2000 race but has reimbursed the money and won't face a fine, the Federal Election Commission said Monday.

For a handful of flights, Bush-Cheney 2000 paid the air carriers the first-class rate rather than the more expensive charter rate it should have used, the FEC said. That resulted in an in-kind corporate contribution from the carriers, auditors found.

The campaign, audited because it accepted full government financing for the general election, acknowledged its error and followed auditors' recommendation that it pay the difference.

The charter services, which also faced the threat of a fine, forfeited the money, and it went to the U.S. Treasury.

The commission voted 5 to 0 in June to close the case and disclosed the vote Monday. Commissioner Michael E. Toner, a former GOP attorney, recused himself.

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