Mexico OKs $5.2M on election

| 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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