June 16th, 2011
05:57 PM ET
11 years ago

Weiner resignation leaves war chest intact

(CNN) - Anthony Weiner may be giving up his seat in Congress, but he will still retain a substantial war chest of campaign contributions, which experts say he is not required to return.

His latest Federal Election Commission filing, for the end of March, showed $365,670 cash on hand in his Congressional account. In addition, his New York City filing, as a candidate for mayor in 2013, showed he was leading the field with just over $4,515,756 cash on hand as of the end of last year.

Weiner is prohibited from converting those funds to personal use. For example, New York state law prohibits a candidate from converting funds "to a personal use which is unrelated to a political campaign or the holding of a public office or party position."

"He can't take it with him and go to Disneyland," said campaign finance attorney Kenneth Gross at Skadden Arps.

But according to election officials, Weiner has a range of options, besides keeping it in the bank to tap if he decides to run for Congress again or for another office, like New York mayor. He could make donations to other candidates; make transfers to party committees; give it to charity; spend it on "winding-down" operations; or return it to donors, on a pro-rated basis.

But according to Gross, many candidates might not want to accept money from a congressman who has just resigned in disgrace.

"I think some, for the time being, may think the money is a little radioactive. But over time, I would not be surprised if other candidates accept money from him," said Gross. "Yes, he's leaving under a cloud – but he's not going to prison. He didn't violate the law," he said.

During Weiner's time in Congress, he gave money to 76 Democratic candidates for Congress, according to the National Republican Congressional Committee. The NRCC is targeting twenty of them with calls to return the contributions. By their count, as of Thursday morning, seven of those twenty Democrats had returned (or given to charity) a total of $14,000 of Weiner's money - while 13 had taken no action.

As to the donors who gave Weiner that money in the first place, Gross said, they can ask Weiner for their money back – but they may be in for a disappointment.

"He has no legal duty to respond to those people," he said.

Filed under: Anthony Weiner
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. T'sah from Virginia

    And he will use the war chest to make a "come back" as mayor!!

    June 16, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  2. Aaron

    For that kind of money, I'd have resigned long ago! This is where contributions become bribes, when they get to keep the leftover spoils.

    June 16, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |