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Mexico OKs $5.2M on election

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, 9:50 p.m.
 

MEXICO CITY — Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute has confirmed that President Enrique Pena Nieto's party spent about $5.2 million through electronic cash cards during last year's presidential campaign.

While opposition parties had charged the money represented illicit campaign financing, the institute said it found no evidence of that.

Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party has said the money was used for normal party personnel expenses, but the funds aroused suspicion, because the money appeared to have been triangulated through several shadowy companies instead of being disbursed directly from party coffers. Opponents said they suspected that corporations may have used the cards to make campaign donations, something that is prohibited under Mexican law.

The institute's board voted 5-4 on Wednesday that the funding did not necessarily represent a campaign violation, though critics said the institute, known as the IFE, did not take the trouble to investigate thoroughly where the money came from.

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