Tags: Obama | Camp | hillary | debt

Obama Camp Reluctant to Pay Hillary's Debt

By Jim Meyers   |   Tuesday, 10 Jun 2008 03:21 PM

Hillary Clinton is turning to her former Democratic rival Barack Obama for help in paying off what is believed to be the largest presidential campaign debt in history.

That help may be hard to come by.

In addition to the $11.4 million of her own money that Clinton lent her campaign, she had about $9.5 million in unpaid bills to creditors at the end of April, the New York Times reports.

The debts include $4.8 million to her former senior strategist Mark Penn’s polling and consulting firm, $956,000 to MSHC Partners for printing and direct mail, and $695,000 to Grunwald Communications for media consulting.

The most-discussed option for Hillary to repay her debts is for Obama to urge his fundraising team to help her with a series of joint events, according to the Times.

Due to campaign finance laws, Obama can’t simply transfer money from his campaign to Clinton, but his fundraisers could ask their contributors to donate to the Clinton campaign.

Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe is scheduled to meet with top Clinton fundraisers on Thursday, the Times disclosed.

But several Obama fundraisers told the Times that they would be reluctant to help pay off Hillary’s debts, because they are being urged to raise money for Obama’s White House run and for the cash-strapped Democratic National Committee.

“They also pointed out that some Obama donors would find it difficult to overcome the animosity they built up during a long, hard-fought primary season,” the Times reported.

Technically there is no deadline for Hillary to pay off her creditors. Former Sen. John Glenn ended his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 with a debt of nearly $3 million — and struggled for more than 20 years to pay it off.

But Clinton has only until the Democratic convention in August to pay back the money she personally lent her campaign. After that, the most she could get back is $250,000.

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