A tale of two financial oversights

Apparently, Sarah Palin’s PAC screwed up on campaign finance law a bit:

Sarah Palin’s political action committee violated federal election laws with two donations earlier this year and filed a mid-year report with a number of errors in it, according to the Federal Election Commission.

In a five-page letter to SarahPAC treasurer Tim Crawford, the FEC highlights a number of issues with the filed report, including donating more than is allowed to the reelection campaigns of Sens. John McCain and Lisa Murkowski, as well as not providing proper descriptions on how some of the PAC’s money was spent.

Contacted by CNN, Crawford said the committee was currently revising the report to fix the errors and said these types of mistakes are not uncommon with FEC filings.

“A million of these [correction letters] go out every month,” Crawford said. “They send out a lot of them.

A spokesman for the FEC said its standard practice for all reports to be reviewed, but would not estimate how many PAC’s usually have to file corrections.

 Specifically, the FEC notes SarahPAC gave $5,000 to McCain and Murkowski’s primary campaigns — $2,600 more than is allowed for a PAC of SarahPAC’s designation to give to a primary effort. SarahPAC also designated the donation for the senators’ 2009 primary when in fact the primaries are in 2010.

To fix the error, Crawford said the PAC will allocate $2,400 to the senators’ primary campaigns and $2,400 to the general election effort as is allowed under election laws. The PAC has also obtained a $200 refund from both campaigns to make up the difference.

“We essentially gave $200 too much,” Crawford said. “We have since redesignated with both committees.”

Yeah, that’s pretty much it, they made a twenty-six hundred dollar error by not exactly following the absurdly complicated and newly enacted campaign funding rules.  A problem, which should be fixed and reviewed to see that something similar doesn’t happen in the future.

Meanwhile, you know how sometimes you reach into the pocket of a pair of pants or a jacket that you haven’t worn in a while, and find a 20 dollar bill that you didn’t know that you had?  Well, the same thing happened to Charlie Rangel, only, instead of twenty dollars, it was somewhere between half a million and $780,000.  And instead of finding it in his pocket, he found it pretty much everywhere:

Earlier this month the Chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee “amended” his 2007 financial disclosure form—to the tune of more than a half-million dollars in previously unreported assets and income. That number may be as high as $780,000, because Congress’s ethics rules only require the Members to report their finances within broad ranges. This voyage of personal financial discovery brings Mr. Rangel’s net worth for 2007 to somewhere between $1.028 million and $2.495 million, while his previous statement came in at $516,015 and $1.316 million.

When you’re a powerful Congressman and working diligently to increase tax rates to pay for President Obama’s health-care plan, we suppose it’s easy to lose track of one of your checking accounts. That would be the one at the federal credit union with a balance somewhere between $250,001 and maybe as high as $500,000. And when you’re crunched for time and pulling together bills to pass in a rush, we guess, too, that you might overlook several other investment accounts, even if some of them are sizable, such as the ones Mr. Rangel missed at JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Oppenheimer and BlackRock.

Oh, and those vacant properties in Glassboro, in southern Jersey? Everybody in Manhattan tries not to think much about New Jersey, so those lots and their as-much-as-$15,000 value must also have slipped down the memory hole. (The New York Post reported yesterday that Mr. Rangel failed to pay property taxes for two of the lots, according to the county clerk’s office.)

The Chairman probably isn’t doing a lot of dining at KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell or Long John Silver’s, either, which may explain why he didn’t disclose the $1,001 to $15,000 in stock he owns in Yum Brands, the conglomerate that runs those chain restaurants. Compared to his undisclosed portfolio stake in PepsiCo—$15,001 to $50,000—that’s practically a rounding error.

Lucky break there, Charlie, lucky break.

CNN frontpaged the Palin story all day long today.  A search through CNN’s archieves indicated that Rangel hasn’t been mentioned at all since July (for completely unrelated reasons), and this latest “oversight” was, it appears, completely un-newsworthy.

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