Clinton Campaign Finally In the Black

Former Democratic presidential hopeful turned Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has raised enough money to retire her massive presidential campaign debt, according to a recent filing with the Federal Election Commission.

The report shows her committee raised more than $540,000 in June, bringing its total cash on hand to $2.5 million -- nearly $1 million more than her outstanding campaign debt.

"She cannot collect more than the debt," said former FEC general counsel Larry Noble, "but she is allowed to put aside money to pay lawyers, accountants, rent, etc. for winding down the committee."

The latest round of contributions capped an intensive fundraising effort by Clinton and her supporters that included months of personal appeals by her family, the launch of a Web site soliciting donations and an effort to rent out the campaign's e-mail list for a fee.

Groups including the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America and her husband's nonprofit group The William J. Clinton Foundation paid what staffers called a "fair market" price for access to the extensive contact list -- presumed to have millions of names.

And in one recent e-mail appeal, Democratic strategist and Clinton ally James Carville offered potential contributors a chance to win one of three "exclusive prizes:" spending a day with President Clinton in New York, attending the "American Idol" season finale, and having lunch with Carville and fellow Democratic pundit Paul Begala in Washington.

To further alleviate the debt, in December Clinton wrote off her $13.2 million personal loan to the campaign, foregoing any chance of recouping her own money.

As secretary of state, federal ethics rules forbid her from appealing for campaign donations while in office, so Clinton has had to rely on supporters to take the lead in soliciting funds.

Turning millions in campaign debt into a surplus is an impressive turnaround from just a year ago. At the end of June 2008, the Clinton campaign committee was in the red for more than $25 million and facing the challenge of raising money for a defunct presidential bid.

Still, one campaign staffer told ABC News the committee does not plan to immediately retire all of its debt despite having significant cash on hand to do so. The campaign's remaining $1.5 million of debt consists unpaid bills to the consulting firm of Mark Penn, Clinton's former chief strategist, for polling and direct mail services.

It's unclear how any potential surplus "Clinton for President" funds will be spent.

Hillary Clinton Turns Clears $25 Million Campaign Debt

In a July 26 appearance on "Meet the Press," Clinton said she has no plans to run for the presidency again. "I have absolutely no belief in my mind that that is going to happen, that I have any interest in it happening," she said. "You know, as I said, I, I am so focused on what I'm doing."

If Clinton does plan to run again, the extra funds could be rolled over to a future campaign. She may also choose to donate the funds to charity or support other candidates' campaigns.

Federal law allows campaign committees to transfer funds to other candidates' campaigns subject to limitations. But as secretary of state, Clinton is forbidden from personally soliciting contributions for herself or other political candidates while in office.

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