Clinton left to foot $13m bill after failed bid for presidency

Millions of dollars loaned to campaign will not be repaid
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The Independent US

'Tis the season for sacrifice for Hillary Clinton. She has formally accepted that she will have to kiss goodbye all those hard-earned millions she gave her presidential campaign earlier this year when she was battling Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination and his far superior fundraising machine.

Anxious to clear as much of her campaign debt as possible before confirmation hearings on her appointment as US Secretary of State, Mrs Clinton told federal election officials she no longer expects to be paid back the $13.2m (£9m) she and her husband, Bill Clinton, loaned her campaign to keep it afloat.

Mrs Clinton's admission comes as she signals her intention that, once she is Secretary of State, to significantly expand the clout of the US State Department by growing its budget, naming high-profile envoys to trouble spots and more explicitly linking diplomacy to the task of helping regions survive the global recession.

While Washington insiders glimpsed with fascination the financial woes of Mrs Clinton, there was disappointment that another New York woman with a fast-growing profile, Caroline Kennedy, is declining to let anyone know even the most basic details of her private affairs.

Mrs Kennedy has become the front-runner among candidates jockeying to be appointed by the New York Governor, David Patterson, to fill the US Senate seat that Mrs Clinton will be vacating. Efforts by the local media to elicit information from her about her financial standing are so far meeting stiff resistance, however.

Were Mrs Kennedy to be seeking the Senate seat in the circumstances of a normal election, she would be required to fill detailed questionnaires revealing, for example, the size of any credit card or mortgage debt she may have, what companies she might have equity in or, indeed, whether she has ever been convicted of any crimes.

A spokesman for Mrs Kennedy insisted that if she was to be selected by Mr Patterson, she will at that point make the usual information available. Her reticence now, however, risks irritating some Democrats who are already questioning the manner in which she may be fast-tracked to the Senate just by virtue of her famous name. Some of those concerns were raised in a letter published in the New York Times purportedly written by the Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, which criticised Ms Kennedy's Senate bid, saying it was in "poor taste". Sadly, it turned out the letters page editor had been duped – M. Delanoë had written no such letter.

The blunder was enough to force the newspaper to write a note of apology. "This letter was a fake. It should not have been published," the paper said in contrite tones. "We have already expressed our regrets to M. Delanoë's office and we are now doing the same to you, our readers."

Though Mrs Clinton may now rue the money wasted striving to beat the man who is now to be her boss, she has the consolation of knowing that one other candidate (from the other party) lost an even greater chunk of his portfolio. That would be Mitt Romney who spent $40m of his own money on his failed presidential bid.

But even with her decision to forgo the money she was owed, Mrs Clinton still cannot close the book on her campaign. By the most recent estimates, the campaign still owes $6.3m to various creditors. With the campaign coffers completely empty she has been forced to engage in new fundraising months after her quest formally ended.

Her fund-raising efforts have included recruiting her mother, Dorothy, to send out emails to supporters asking them to donate $250 in return for autographed copies of a Christmas children's book about her daughter.

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