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Joe Biden update: He's fined $219,000 for campaign violations

July 19, 2010 | 10:08 am

Due to an unfortunate (and no doubt accidental) error of timing, the news of a nearly quarter-million-dollar federal fine levied against the vice president of the United States, Joe "What Checks?" Biden, was announced Friday -- a hot summer day when hardly anyone was paying attention to anything but the tempting weekend at the next exit.

The lifetime politician himself was off raising money for Democrats in Nashville at the time, and the president, Barack Obama, was out of town on another family vacation not on the gulf coast. Biden returns to the political money-raising trail again this week. Democrat vice president Joe Biden really likes ice cream cones

As a public service to the many readers gripped by the personal tale of the man who became a senator from tiny little Delaware when Obama was a mere sixth-grader, The Ticket is publishing news of the campaign's fine this morning after a weekend of safe-keeping.

The Federal Election Commission announced that after an audit of Biden's notoriously unsuccessful presidential campaign of 2007-08, during which he accepted more than $2 million in federal funds, the agency was fining him $219,000. Biden finished fifth in the Iowa caucuses.

The audit found that Biden's campaign illegally accepted a corporate charter air transportation gift by paying only $7,911 for a round-trip New Hampshire-Iowa flight for which it should have paid $34,800.

The plane is owned by a New York hedge fund, the Clinton Group controlled by a major Democrat donor, George E. Hall, investigated by state Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo.

The audit also found that Biden's campaign accepted at least $106,000 in contributions above the legal $2,300 individual limit, and that Biden owed the U.S. Treasury $85,000 for stale-dated checks.

But wait, there's more: The audit also found Biden's campaign failed to disclose $3.7 million in payments -- and that his campaign failed to disclose $870,000 in debts.

Other than that, his sloppy campaign reports may have been perfect.

A Biden spokeswoman, who apparently uses a different money-measuring gauge than the 9.5% of Americans currently unemployed, called the $219,000 penalty as "relatively small."

It is equal to about 96% of a vice president's annual salary.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: Associated Press

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