Auditor looks into DNC spending of Pa. funds

     (Bastiaan Slabbers for NewsWorks)

    (Bastiaan Slabbers for NewsWorks)

    At the behest of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and top Republicans, Pennsylvania’s auditor general has launched a formal review of how the Democratic National Convention’s host committee spent state money.

    The state gave the DNC committee a $10 million grant last summer to help fund the event held in Philadelphia.

    Ultimately, the committee — chaired by former Gov. Ed Rendell — ended up with a $4 million surplus.

    Among other things, that money was used to give bonuses to staff members.

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    Lawmakers argue any extra money should have gone back to the state.

    Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said his investigation has two possible outcomes: either the DNC misused funds by spending the surplus, or the state simply didn’t make its grant terms strict enough.

    “If you don’t like the rules of the grant agreement, then they should have been changed up front,” DePasquale said.

    He also noted that most of the convention’s $86 million budget came from private donations, which he said prompts broader concerns about the use of state funding.

    “One of the questions we’re going to be asking of Gov. Rendell when we sit down with him is, would this convention have actually taken place in Philadelphia without the public money?” he said. “At the end of the day, there was — regardless of what it went for — $4 million left over.”

    DePasquale was noncommittal when asked whether it’s possible for the state to recoup any of the money.He said Rendell and the other DNC committee members are cooperating with the audit.

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