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DNC Can't Return Contributions -- Yet

Democrats don't have enough cash to immediately make good on their pledge to return questionable contributions


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 3) -- A shortage of cash will prevent the Democratic National Committee from immediately making good on its pledge to return an additional $1.5 million in questionable contributions.

The DNC has raised "several million" dollars so far this year, but it could be two more months before it returns the disputed money because of bills and general expenses, a party spokesman said.

"We will not be returning the $1.5 million right away," DNC Communications Director Amy Weiss Tobe told CNN. "We do not have the money. We hope to be able to return the money in the next couple months."

Tobe said the $1.5 million will come out of the DNC's $50 million 1997 projected budget. While Tobe acknowledged fund-raising got off to a slow start because of the inaugural and the party's change of leadership, she said fund-raising was going well.

Tobe said that the $1.5 million will be raised in conjunction with the DNC's other funds and that no special fund-raisers will be held to raise the money being returned. The DNC has a debt of about $12 million after having raised an unprecedented $120 million in 1996.

On Friday, the party said it would return another $1.5 million in improper or questionable contributions it received from 77 donors during the 1996 election cycle. That makes about $3 million in problem donations the party has had to return. Much of the money was brought in by former DNC fund-raiser John Huang.

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