Politics & Government

SarahPAC blames illegal political donations on software error

Former Gov. Sarah Palin's political action committee gave excessive contributions to two well-known Republicans and also is facing demands from the federal government for more detailed financial information on a number of fronts.

The deficiencies are highlighted in a five-page letter sent Aug. 19 by a Federal Elections Commission staffer to SarahPAC treasurer Tim Crawford. The FEC wants answers by Sept. 24.

"Failure to adequately respond by the response date noted above could result in an audit or enforcement action," FEC campaign finance analyst Allen Norfleet wrote.

No problem, said Crawford, a Virginia-based political consultant.

SarahPAC already has sorted out the $5,000 contributions to Sens. John McCain and Lisa Murkowski and will provide all the information the FEC wants, including clarifying the work various individuals were paid to do, he said.

"I think you can say it was sloppiness on my part and my attorney's part," Crawford said, referring to the contributions. "We fouled up there. But it's been fixed." He said SarahPAC's lawyer is Mark Braden of Washington, D.C.

Under federal election law, political action committees can give candidates up to $5,000 per election if they meet certain conditions, including having at least 51 donors and contributing to at least five candidates. For other political action committees, lower limits of $2,400 an election apply. SarahPAC's official multi-candidate designation is in process, so it shouldn't have given $5,000, Crawford acknowledged.

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