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GOP committees, Fannie Mae hit with FEC fines

WASHINGTON -- The Republican National Committee, the Senate Republicans' fund-raising arm, and Fannie Mae are paying fines to settle a case over the improper use of political donations from the mortgage giant. Under an agreement with the Federal Election Commission, the RNC was to pay a $98,000 civil penalty, the National Republican Senatorial Committee faced a $24,000 fine, and Fannie Mae was to pay $10,000.

The FEC said yesterday that it found that some donations from Fannie Mae to the party committees from 1998 to 2000 weren't deposited in the one type of account the committees were allowed to accept the money for: building funds that weren't used for election costs.

Fannie Mae, formally known as the Federal National Mortgage Association, is a congressionally chartered corporation. Federal law bars such government-backed corporations from making contributions or spending in connection with any election.

According to the FEC, $50,000 that Fannie Mae gave to the Republican Governors' Association, then a part of the RNC, was improperly deposited in the RNC's Republican National State Elections Committee account. The RNC refunded the money to Fannie Mae in 2001.

The commission found that in 2001, the RNC improperly placed $250,000 from another government-sponsored mortgage corporation, Freddie Mac, into its general account containing corporate large, unregulated donations known as soft money.

Freddie Mac had designated the donation for the RNC's building fund.

The FEC voted 4-to-0 last month to settle the matter.

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