AP's Palin Reporter Gave to Liberal 527 Group in 2004

Earlier today I noted how AP reporter Sara Kugler painted the McCain/Palin campaign as having "banned" print reporters from asking the Republican vice presidential candidate questions as she met with foreign leaders. This despite no concern by the AP or other print outlets back in July when Barack Obama conducted closed-door meetings with European heads of state.

Now a NewsBusters tipster has brought to my attention that Kugler shelled out a few benjamins to a liberal 527 during the 2004 campaign.

From OpenSecrets.org:

ContributorOccupationDateAmountRecipient
KUGLER, SARA
NEW YORK,NY 10014
AP/JOURNALIST8/21/04$342America Coming Togethe

America Coming Together is now defunct, but didn't sunset without controversy. In August 2007, the Federal Election Commission levied what it reached a settlement with ACT that amounted to the "third largest civil penalty in an enforcement matter in the Commission’s thirty-three year history":

ACT raised approximately $137 million in connection with the 2004 elections - approximately $33.5 million in federal funds and approximately $103.5 million in non-federal funds. ACT's activities focused on voter contact, voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities in 17 states. The FEC concluded that approximately $70 million in disbursements characterized by ACT as "administrative expenses" for door-to-door canvassing, direct mail and telemarketing were actually attributable to clearly identified federal candidates and were required either to be paid with 100% federal funds or to be allocated between federal and non-federal candidates based on the time or space devoted to the candidates. Under either method, ACT was required to use a substantially higher proportion of federal funds than that reflected in either the estimated or adjusted funds expended allocation ratio for administrative expenses used by ACT in 2003-2004.

The Commission also concluded that even for the approximately $30 million in disbursements that could properly be characterized as administrative and generic voter drive expenses, ACT should have used at least 90% federal and 10% non-federal funds. Therefore, ACT should have used approximately $27 million in federal funds and approximately $3 million in non-federal funds to pay for these expenses.

The conciliation agreement sets forth that ACT failed properly to attribute and report expenditures attributable to specific candidates, failed properly to allocate and report joint administrative activities and used non-federal funds to pay the federal share of such allocated expenses. The agreement also requires ACT to pay a $775,000 civil penalty and cease and desist from further violating the law and Commission regulations.

The Commission is also releasing a separate Factual and Legal Analysis addressing allegations of illegal in-kind contributions made by ACT to the DNC and John Kerry for President. The Commission investigation of these allegations uncovered no evidence of coordination between those organizations and ACT.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters