APRIL 29, 2005 - Posted at 8:06 a.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Republican Party of Arkansas has been ordered to pay a $360 civil penalty for campaign finance violations during the 1999-2000 election cycle.
The Federal Election Commission announced the fine yesterday. The state GOP also must submit to annual independent financial audits at its own expense in each of the next five years. Reports of those audits must be certified by a CPA and submitted to the FEC each year under terms of the conciliation agreement. The agreement was reached after nearly two years of negotiations following a 2003 FEC audit identified 11 violations of campaign finance law by the party during the two-year period.
The monetary penalty is to be paid out over the next six months. Governor Huckabee called the fine huge and a setback for the party, but said it's not a death penalty and that the GOP would move past it.