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Obama's PAC still giving out money

The Washington Post reports: When Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) launched his presidential campaign in January, he stopped raising money for his Hopefund, the political action committee he used to raise millions for fellow Democrats in previous campaigns. But in recent months, Obama has handed out more than $180,000 from the nearly dormant PAC to local Democratic groups and candidates in the key early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, campaign reports show.

Some of the recipients of Hopefund's largess are state and local politicians who have recently endorsed Obama's presidential bid. Obama's PAC reported giving a $1,000 contribution, for instance, to New Hampshire state Sen. Jacalyn Cilley on July 25, six days before she announced she was endorsing Obama for president. ...

Cilley, who has traveled with Obama around New Hampshire and serves on the campaign's steering committee, said that she decided to endorse him before getting the donation but that the announcement was delayed. She said she even considered sending the check back at one point to eliminate any concerns about appearances. ...

Scott Thomas, a Democrat and a former FEC chairman, said "there's probably no doubt" the PAC donations were aimed at increasing support for Obama's presidential race. "But in my experience, the commission has not had the stomach to reach out and characterize those kinds of contributions as impermissible," Thomas said. -- Obama PAC Is Active In Key Election States - washingtonpost.com

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