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GOP Convention Panel Audit Ends

May 16, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Republican National Convention committee received near-perfect marks in a federal audit of its $66 million in contributions.

The Federal Election Commission voted 4-0 to consider the audit of Philadelphia 2000 finished. Commissioners took no position on auditors’ finding that the committee should return $151,250 in nonlocal donations. Agency lawyers could ask the commission to pursue the matter in a separate action.

Presidential convention ``host″ committees such as Philadelphia 2000 or the Democratic National Convention committees in Los Angeles were only allowed to accept contributions from businesses if the businesses had local facilities.

The committee receipts questioned by auditors included $25,000 from Florida Crystals Inc., $25,000 from Flo-Sun Inc., $60,000 from Voter.com, $25,000 from Access Industries and $16,250 from CNN.

The committee contended Florida Crystals and Flo-Sun both had a local presence. Florida Crystals markets its products in the Philadelphia area, and Flo-Sun is affiliated with Florida Crystals, the committee said.

The receipts from Voter.com, Access Industries and CNN should be considered payments rather than contributions, the committee said.

Voter.com and Access Industries were paying a fair price to advertise at the convention, and CNN paid for parking spaces, Philadelphia 2000 said. Auditors said the committee failed to prove the three businesses had local presences or that it charged them fair market value.

Philadelphia 2000 raised $66 million and spent roughly $60 million from March 1997 through September 2000.

Michael Toner, who recently left his post as the Republican National Committee’s chief counsel to join the commission, removed himself from consideration of the audit.


On the Net:

Federal Election Commission: http://www.fec.gov/

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