Legal Group Asks FEC to Withhold Matching Funds from Sharpton Campaign

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - A legal policy group is calling on the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to withhold matching funds from Democratic presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton.

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) filed an amendment Thursday to its Feb. 2 complaint with the FEC alleging additional violations of federal campaign law by Sharpton's campaign.

The amendment will update the complaint to reflect information contained in a Feb. 3 article by the Village Voice which alleges that Sharpton's non-profit group, the National Action Network (NAN), may have underwritten travel funds received as large loans or gifts from consultant Roger Stone and/or other unnamed donors.

The article alleges that Stone rounded up donations in enough states to attempt to qualify Sharpton for matching funds.

The amended complaint asks the FEC to withhold federal matching funds from Sharpton's campaign until the allegations contained in the complaint are investigated.

This marks the second such complaint the NLPC has filed against the Democrat. The first, which was filed on April 18, 2003, resulted in a conciliation agreement under which Sharpton has to pay a $5,500 fine for late filing of disclosure documents.

In response to NLPC's April 18th complaint, the FEC informed Sharpton that a potential candidate who becomes a candidate is required to report all previous contributions and expenditures on the first report.

The Feb. 2 complaint cited media reports indicating that Sharpton may have visited over 100 cities related to his presidential campaign in 2002 and 2003, but this travel is not reflected anywhere in Sharpton's FEC filings, the NLPC claims.

"The FEC has an obligation to safeguard the integrity of the matching funds process. If there is an effort to defraud the taxpayer, we seek to stop it," NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm said.

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