Fox News host “Judge” Jeanine Pirro may still owe nearly $600,000 in campaign debt for her ill-fated attempt to challenge Hillary Clinton for a U.S. Senate seat.
The conservative broadcaster sought the Republican nomination in 2006 in hopes of winning the Senate seat then held by Clinton, and her campaign racked up nearly a half-million dollars in debt before Pirro dropped out of the race after just four months, reported The Daily Beast.
Candidates cannot dissolve their campaign committees until all their debts are repaid, or a plan to repay has been set up — and so Pirro’s campaign remains active.
Pirro’s committee reported seven years ago, in its last FEC filing, $589,000 still owed to 20 different vendors, including $222,559.25 in debt to GOP fundraising firm the Lukens Company.
Republican consulting firm Mercury Public Affairs and telemarketing firm FLS Connect are also still owed money by the campaign, according to the committee’s filing.
The committee didn’t report any debt repayment on that FEC filing made in late 2011, but it did pay off campaign treasurer Bruce Bellmare, an attorney at the law offices of Pirro’s husband, and Jeffrey Buley, who ran a consulting firm with Pirro’s husband that was sanctioned in 2008 for failing to file lobbying disclosure paperwork.
None of the vendors still owed by Pirro’s campaign responded to requests for comment, and Pirro and a Fox News spokesperson also did not respond.
The FEC sent Pirro’s campaign 19 notices — including one last month — asking for required filings, which is legally problematic, according to the government agency.
“Committees must file regularly scheduled reports until the Commission notifies them in writing that it has granted their request to terminate,” according to the FEC.
Pirro’s campaign was warned in October that it could face fines, audit or other enforcement actions if requested financial information was not filed, as required.