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Weiner answers accusations of finance violations

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U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Kew Gardens) has taken issue with a federal audit into his 1998 election campaign activities that found loans he received from his parents totaling $28,000 were wrongful contributions during his 1998 congressional campaign.

Weiner, who was running for his first term in Congress in 1998 against former state Assemblywoman Melinda Katz, contended the funds from his parents were personal loans to him and not meant to be campaign contributions.

The Federal Elections Commission's audit also revealed that Weiner had excessive campaign contributions during the 1998 primary election totaling $200,300. That figure was later reduced to $33,250 following the implementation of new FEC rules.

Weiner's election campaign committee was called Friends of Weiner, or FOW.

"FOW disclosed the receipt of two loans from the candidate totaling $28,000, which appeared to have been funded by the candidate's parents, resulting in excessive contributions by the parents totaling $28,000," according to the FEC report.

The report also said FEC had received no information about whether any funds were repaid to Weiner's parents, which under federal law classifies them as contributions.

"Since the money came to me and I made a loan to the campaign a month or two later, they (FEC) said the money from my parents had wound up in the campaign. I'm not going to dispute their conclusion," Weiner said in a statement through his spokesman.

"It was not an attempt to circumvent the law. It was a legitimate effort on the part of my parents to help me out during a tough financial time," Weiner said.

The FEC is the federal fund-raising oversight agency that monitors candidates for federal office and their campaign spending.

The federal audit showed Weiner received four checks from his parents that were deposited into his personal account: one in the amount of $15,000 made payable to Weiner drawn from his father's account and three others from his mother totaling $15,000.

These, according to the FEC report, violated the law because they are deemed individual contributions that cannot exceed $1,000 per person regardless of his or her relation to the candidate.

"Based on the facts presented above, it appears that the candidate's parents provided funding for the $28,000 in loans to FOW," the FEC report said. "Since both parents contributed $1,000 to FOW primary, it appears that the candidate's parents made excessive contributions in the form of a loan to FOW totaling $28,000."

The FEC is the only agency investigating his 1998 campaign.

The federal agency said in its report that it reserves the right to audit any political committee for a candidate who registered with the federal agency. There was no mention in the report why the results of the audit were surfacing now nearly five years after the campaign.

The FEC report also detailed how Weiner received $200,300 more than allowed by law in campaign donations during his 1998 primary campaign. According to the FEC, however, that figure was reduced to $33,250, all of which had to be and was refunded to donors.

The report said the figure was reduced by the new rules that now allow candidates to "reattribute contributions to joint account holders or redesignate contributions to other elections."

Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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