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How to exceed the limit on campaign contributions

Nate writes at FiveThirtyEight.com: The latest FEC filings reveal that Hillary Clinton's campaign owed more than $25 million in debt as of June 30. The problem is not quite as bad as that initial price tag would suggest, as about $13 million of the $25 million in debt is owed to Clinton herself. Under federal finance law, Clinton will not be able to recoup more than $250,000 of that money once the convention occurs and her campaign is officially terminated.

Nevertheless, the other half of the debt -- about $12 million -- takes the form of accounts payable owed to individual vendors. A substantial amount of that ($5.3 million) is owed to Mark Penn's consulting firm, and another million-plus to other pollsters and consultants. But there are also more mundane sorts of expenses. Approximately $2.0 million is owed to event-staging companies such as caterers, equipment rental firms and lighting companies. Another $1.2 million is owed to printers, and $0.5 million to phone banking companies. Almost all of the companies in these categories are small businesses. The Clinton campaign also has about half a million dollars in unpaid phone bills owed to AT&T and Verizon, and $230,000 in uncompensated travel expenses to campaign staff.

Clinton's obligations for paying off her debt are a little murky. In theory, all of her vendors -- yes, even Mark Penn -- are required to make a good-faith effort to collect their debts because otherwise this might constitute an illegal campaign contribution. Consider the following, for instance: Verizon allows the Clinton campaign to accumulate $300,000 in cellphone expenses, but lets the campaign know that it's not going to worry about the bills being paid. This is tantamount to Verizon donating $300,000 directly to the campaign, which is illegal under campaign finance law. -- FiveThirtyEight.com: Electoral Projections Done Right

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