Hillary Clinton's campaign debt finally paid off

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 9:36am

(CNN) -- More than four years after suspending her 2008 presidential bid, now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has finally paid off her campaign debt.

Clinton's presidential organization spent the final day of 2012 paying down the remaining debt, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission late Tuesday.

Clinton's committee spent part of New Year's Eve making three payments totaling $73,000 to the Democratic polling firm of Penn and Schoen. The campaign had once owed the firm $5.4 million, but had brought their account current by the time the clock struck midnight on December 31.

Clinton's debt reached its peak in June 2008 shortly after the former New York senator suspended her campaign. At that point, her presidential committee owed $12 million to almost 500 creditors and $13.2 million to the candidate herself, who dipped into her personal funds to help finance her campaign.

Campaign finance laws forced Clinton to forgive the amount she loaned her committee because she was not able to repay the funds by a required deadline.

The campaign reported raising $158,000 in the final quarter of 2012 and started 2013 with $205,000, which can be used for any future bids for federal office.

A federal law known as the Hatch Act prohibited Clinton and other federal government employees from personally soliciting or accepting political contributions. The law does allow others to raise funds on Clinton's behalf, without her direct involvement. Former President Bill Clinton periodically sent out fundraising appeals to his wife's campaign email list to help retire her debt.

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