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FEC flags Arizona senator for excessive campaign donations

February 1, 2019
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, then-Arizona Republican senatorial candidate Martha McSally, speaks with voters, at Chase's diner in Chandler, Ariz. he Federal Election Commission says Arizona Sen. Martha McSally may have accepted $270,000 in campaign contributions that exceeded legal limits. Federal candidates can collect $2,700 from a single donor during a primary election and an additional $2,700 from that same person during the general. But agency flagged dozens of contributions to McSally that appear to exceed those limits. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arizona Sen. Martha McSally, whose fundraising practices have drawn scrutiny in the past, appears to have accepted more than $270,000 in excessive campaign contributions during the recent midterm campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Federal candidates can collect $2,700 from a single donor during a primary election, followed by an additional $2,700 from the same person during the general election.

But the federal agency flagged dozens of contributions to McSally from more than 60 donors that appear to exceed those limits, including one who cut a $10,000 check during the general election alone, according to an analysis of FEC records. The agency said in a letter on Monday that McSally has until early March to correct any record-keeping issues, or refund the money.

While many campaigns regularly cut refund checks when donors give too much, a spokesman for McSally said she can’t control how much her supporters give. He said that her campaign is reviewing the matter.

“The McSally campaign has continued to follow the mandated guidelines of the FEC,” said spokesman Anthony Barry.

The campaign also said it has issued refunds to donors who contributed more than was allowed.

McSally lost in November after voters in red state Arizona elected Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema following a hard-fought — and costly — race. However, she was appointed to the Senate in December to finish the remainder of deceased Sen. John McCain’s term.

This isn’t the first time McSally has drawn attention for her fundraising and record-keeping. An audit by the FEC that was released last year found that the former congresswoman’s 2014 campaign accepted $319,000 in excessive contributions.

The agency found that her campaign had sloppy record-keeping, with account balances that were repeatedly overstated or understated. The audit also found that she failed to disclose required donor information and did not report late-in-the campaign donations within the required amount of time.

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This story has been corrected to show the letter was sent Monday, not Tuesday.

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