WASHINGTON - Election watchdogs have fined Joe Biden's 2008 presidential campaign more than $219,000 for sloppy bookkeeping and accepting excessive contributions, including a discounted flight on a private jet.
The audit was released Friday by the Federal Election Commission.
It determined that the Biden campaign accepted an illegal corporate contribution in the form of a round-trip flight between New Hampshire and Iowa in June 2007 for three people. The Biden campaign paid GEH Air Transportation $7,911 for the first-class airfare, but regulators say the campaign should have paid the charter rate of $34,800.
The FEC also found that the Biden campaign received at least $106,000 in donations that were over the limit, and the campaign was ordered to pay the U.S. Treasury more than $85,000 for stale-dated checks.
The Biden campaign also failed to disclose more than $3.7 million in payments and roughly $870,000 in debts.
The audit was conducted in part as a condition of Biden's accepting taxpayer funds for his campaign through the presidential public financing system.
Biden, who's now the vice president, campaigned for president for nearly a year before dropping out in January 2008 after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.
Elizabeth Alexander, a spokeswoman for Biden in the vice president's office, yesterday said the campaign would pay the fines.
"Some repayment is commonplace after presidential campaign audits and the repayment ordered here is relatively small. Payment is due to the Treasury 30 days after the FEC issues its formal ruling and Biden for President will comply with that," she said. - AP