WASHINGTON — John Edwards' campaign must repay more than $2.2 million to the U.S. Treasury after improperly getting federal matching funds during his 2008 presidential bid, according to a final Federal Election Commission audit released Friday.
The report also found that Edwards' campaign understated the amount of money it had on hand on two separate occasions, failed to itemize more than $4.3 million in loan repayments and owes the Treasury nearly $142,000 in checks the campaign issued that were never cashed.
The committee in charge of Edwards' campaign has 90 days to make a payment or 60 days to ask the FEC to review the decision. When the audit's findings became public last month, Patricia Fiori, an attorney for the campaign, said the committee would appeal. Fiori did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
The audit is separate from the other legal troubles facing Edwards, though those are also related to campaign spending. In June, he pleaded not guilty to six counts of violating federal campaign finance law to cover up an affair with Rielle Hunter, a campaign videographer with whom he fathered a child. A trial has been tentatively set to begin in October in North Carolina.
In the FEC case, audits are required for federal campaigns that accept public financing, and it's not uncommon for campaign committees to find themselves owing money to the Treasury, said Anthony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College. But the size of the repayment sought by the FEC from Edwards' campaign is out of the ordinary.