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A campaign committee associated with Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) must repay $81,320 in corporate contributions received in the 2002 campaign, the Federal Election Commission said in an audit released Nov. 1.
But the campaign committee, known as the Dole North Carolina Victory Committee, denied that it should have to make any repayments. Officials for the Dole committee argued that the problems uncovered by the FEC were caused by a rogue campaign staffer who embezzled money and wound up being sentenced to jail [...]
Findings of the FEC audit maintained, however, that the committee itself also bore responsibility because of lax oversight. The audit said the committee accepted improper contributions from corporations and held onto checks long after they should have been deposited, leading to reporting problems.
FEC auditors said they were told by Dole campaign officials that they relied on Haywood's reputation to ensure that he was properly handling committee finances and said there was nothing in FEC regulations that required the committee "to maintain any specific level of internal controls." The committee also argued that it was "being treated unfairly, given that it was a victim of a crime," according to the audit report.
In response, FEC auditors said the committee "chose to rely on one person's reputation and honesty rather than establishing a system where duties were segregated to provide checks and balances. That reliance allowed the embezzlement to occur and inaccurate disclosure reports to be filed."