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12-09-08, 09:47 PM #1
Romney committee spending questioned
BOSTON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Ex-presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is using a committee he created to help other Republicans to bolster his own national profile, The Boston Globe says. The Globe reported Monday that while Romney aides insisted the primary mission of the Free and Strong America Committee is to raise money for other Republicans candidates and to promote GOP policies nationwide, it found the political action group has spent much more on salaries for longtime political advisers and consultants to the former Massachusetts governor, possibly to lay the groundwork for another run for president in 2012. The newspaper said its review shows the committee has distributed only about 12 percent of the $2.1 million it has raised to other GOP candidates.
Paul S. Ryan, associate legal counsel to the non-partisan campaign finance watchdog group Campaign Legal Center, says use of a political action committee in such a manner "is not uncommon and not illegal, but it is unfortunate and deceptive to tell donors their funds are going to help candidates when, in fact, a big chunk is used to further the career of the political person who created the PAC."
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said the $244,000 sent to party candidates was much more than most other high-profile political figures. But, he said, the main reason for the committee is to give Romney the wherewithal to get out and talk to people.
"The main purpose of Mitt Romney's PAC is to enable him to travel around the country on virtually a full-time basis to campaign and raise funds for candidates and to promote policies that will strengthen America," Fehrnstrom said.
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