Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Watchdog group files complaint vs. Frist

Watchdog group files complaint vs. Frist

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A watchdog group on Monday filed a complaint against Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist with the Federal Election Commission, alleging that his campaign committees failed to adequately disclose a $1.4 million loan.

The complaint from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said in 2000, the Tennessee Republican tried to recoup $1.2 million of a loan he made to his 1994 campaign committee.

But Frist 2000, Inc., the committee for his second senatorial campaign, had invested and lost money in the stock market, and did not have the funds to pay him back, the complaint said.

Both committees jointly took out a $1.4 million bank loan, but only the 1994 committee - Bill Frist for Senate, Inc. - reported the debt, according to the complaint. CREW claims both committees should have reported the loan.

"It looks like they were trying to hide it because people weren't looking at that committee," said Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director.

Linus Catignani, finance director of Frist 2000, said the committees followed FEC guidelines.

"The FEC's had the filings for years and, to my knowledge, they've had no questions about them. I believe that we filed consistent with all FEC regulations," he said. "If they have questions, I'm delighted to sit down and talk to them."

Frist has been mentioned as a possible candidate for president in 2008. He has said he does not plan to run for re-election to his Senate seat in 2006.
On the Net:

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington: http://www.citizensforethics.org/

Federal Election Commission: http://www.fec.gov