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Clinton Repays Debt To Schools

This story was written by Juliette Mullin, Daily Pennsylvanian

Over two months after suspending her presidential campaign, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has paid her bills to all universities and colleges.

Clinton - who held rallies and policy speeches at campuses throughout the country during the Democratic primaries - still owed $146,347.29 to 10 colleges as of June 30, according to the Federal Election Commission's July reports. This included $24,238.99 owed to Penn for the use of the Palestra, the Perelman Quadrangle and the Hall of Flags.

According to campaign spokesperson Kathleen Strand, the campaign paid off all debts to those 10 colleges - including Penn - last week.

"Since the very beginning, Senator Clinton had made it a priority to pay back colleges and universities as quickly as possible," said Strand.

In order to pay the debt to campuses and other venues, Clinton took out a personal loan of $1 million, said a Clinton spokesperson.

This brings Clinton's total loans to the campaign to $12.4 million.

Spokespeople from seven of the 10 campuses, including University spokesperson Ron Ozio, confirmed that the campaign had fully paid off their debts this week.

The Daily Pennsylvanian was unable to reach spokespeople at Arizona State University and Mercyhurst College to confirm payment.

Also, the DP was unable to confirm by press time that all debt to the University of Texas, Brownsville had been paid.

According to Strand, the campaign's records show that they have now paid all debt to the University of Texas, Brownsville. But, spokesperson for the university, Letty Fernandez, said that their records showed that the campaign still owed the university money.

"If there are invoices that have not reached our campaign or there was a processing issue, we would be happy to resolve this immediately," said Strand.

According to political analyst and St. Joseph's University history professor Randall Miller, it is not surprising that Clinton would push to pay all colleges and vendors because they are institutions with large constituencies.

Though Miller noted that many "also-ran" candidates leave their debt hanging, he said that there is more pressure on Clinton than on an average former candidate to repay her debt.

As an "emerging element within the party and the nation," Miller said that "she can't just shrug her shoulders and walk away."

He also noted that repaying all colleges, universities and vendors was a smart move for a politician interested in running in 2012 or later.

"It doesn't mean that Clinton will be making a bid in 2012, although I wouldn't rule it out," Miller said. "It certainly helps her out."

Though the party's nominee traditionally assumes the losing candidate's debt, presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama's efforts to raise funds for Clinton have been, Miller noted, less than stellar.

"They've made an effort but they have their own money problems to worry about," he said, referring to the cost of the Obama campaign's 50-state strategy.