Will Burns Use Campaign "Surplus" For Legal Defense Against Ties To Abramoff Scandal?
The unsuccessful re-election campaign of Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), ended with a $292,969 surplus, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Rules limit what may be done with the remaining money. In some cases, leftover campaign money may be spent on legal fees. The FEC reviews such expenditures case by case.
TPMMuckraker.com, citing FEC disclosure forms, reported in October that Burns had spent $91,500 of campaign funds on defense attorney Ralph Caccia of Powell Goldstein http://www.pogolaw.com/.
It's not far-fetched to think Burns will use some or all of his surplus on additional legal fees. Burns is not wealthy. The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics put Burns' net worth at no more than $340,000 -- 88th in the most recent Senate.
The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a congressional influence-peddling investigation related to the activities of convicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Abramoff, along with his clients and associates, gave $150,000 to Burns' campaign committees. Burns later returned some of the money and gave away the rest.
Burns spent much of the year trying to distance himself from Abramoff, at one point telling a Montana television station that he wished Abramoff had "never been born." But Abramoff, writing in Vanity Fair earlier this year, noted, “Our staffs were as close as they could be. They practically used (Abramoff’s restaurant) Signatures as their cafeteria.”