Clinton owes Penn's firm $2.5 million

April 8, 2008 at 7:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 8 (UPI) -- Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton owes her former campaign strategist about $2.5 million, campaign finance papers show.

The Daily Mail reported Tuesday that the money is owed to the public relations firm of Mark Penn, who resigned from the New York senator's campaign amid a flap over meeting with the Colombian government to discuss advancing a trade deal Clinton opposes.

The money Penn is owed accounts for more than a quarter of the campaign's $8.7 million in outstanding debt, according to finance reports filed last month.

The Clinton campaign pays Penn through his business -- Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates. The campaign has paid the firm at least $10 million since the presidential race began last year, the newspaper reported.

"Certainly, the unpaid bills create a continuing relationship," said Massie Ritsch, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog group.

"The amount of money that they have billed would not appear to be unusual for a consultant working on media polling and other aspects of a major presidential campaign," he added.

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