Clinton’s Umpteenth Kickoff

Posted March 6, 2007 at 6:41pm

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has been an officially declared presidential candidate for more than a month now, and she already has crisscrossed the country in search of votes and financial support. But on March 20, she’ll have the official Washington, D.C., kickoff for her campaign at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel near the National Zoo.

Former President Bill Clinton will be headlining the event. Ticket prices start at $1,000.

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Dodding His i’s. Sen. Chris Dodd (D) on Monday announced two key Iowa hires for his 2008 presidential campaign. Both have connections to Members of Congress or prior Congressional campaigns.

Dodd has tapped Marc Beltrame to serve as director of his campaign in the nation’s first caucus state and Taylor West to be Iowa press secretary.

Beltrame has been deputy district director for Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) and recently served as press secretary on Iowa Gov. Chet Culver’s (D) 2006 campaign.

West hails from Virginia and in the previous cycle she served as communications director for technology lobbyist Harris Miller’s (D) failed Senate primary campaign. In 2005, she worked on the campaign to elect now-Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D).

Reforming the Reform. A federal judge on Monday ordered the Reform Party to pay the federal government about $335,000 it improperly spent on its 2000 presidential nominating convention, when pundit Pat Buchanan became its presidential nominee.

Monday’s ruling by a Florida court affirms a 2005 decision that sided with the Federal Election Commission, which oversees payouts to political parties for their nominating conventions.

In 2000, the Reform Party received roughly $2.5 million “for the purposes of defraying convention expenses.” But during an audit later that year, the FEC unearthed questionable uses of money and asked the group to pay back $333,558. When party leaders refused, the FEC asked a federal judge to step in.

— Josh Kurtz, Lauren W. Whittington and Matthew Murray