BOSTON (CBS) – Attorney General Martha Coakley, who’s running for governor, admitted mistakes were made regarding the handling of her campaign funds.

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She took questions about the issue for the first time Friday during a taping of WBZ-TV’s Keller @ Large.

Jon Keller: The Boston Globe raised questions about the handling of your campaign funds.  State law prohibits the use of federal campaign funds in a state election, but since running for U.S. Senate in 2010, you’ve spent $6,000 out of your federal account on expenses promoting your candidacy for state office and you also spent money out of your federal account on software that keeps track of volunteers and donors.

As the state’s top law officer who’s prosecuted other politicians for comparable violations, how could this happen?

Coakley: “The first we’ve become aware of the issues with the FEC (Federal Election Commission) are recent, came to our attention. Immediately, as soon as it did, we started working with the FEC. We are working with OCPF (The Massachusetts Office of Campaign & Political Finance), because I disagree with some of the premises of your question, but let me just say this, it’s incredibly important that every candidate, including the attorney general, be transparent and be accurate, have an appearance of doing the right thing, as well as actually doing the right thing.  We are working with the FEC now and we will fix this and we will be transparent about it when it’s done.”

Keller: But mistakes were made?

Coakley: “We made a couple of mistakes. We made a couple of mistakes in that campaign, around the campaign. We did make mistakes. We’ve acknowledged some of them already and we’ve fixed them, but some of the other things – and I’m not going to go into detail, because we will once we fix them – we will make this right.”

Keller: The Globe also reported that the numbers don’t add up on your federal account reports, which show far more money being spent than taken in without reporting a deficit. You paid your sister close to $30,000 to manage that account. Was that a mistake?

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Coakley: “No, it wasn’t and again, these issues are all what we are dealing with now in terms of the reporting issue. We’re dealing with the FEC and the OCPF at the state level and we will fix this.”

Keller: A Globe editorial suggested you should be “deeply embarrassed” by these issues. Are you?

Coakley: “I certainly feel that it’s incredibly important for me and every candidate to get this as right as we can all the time. We don’t always. I didn’t. I’ve acknowledged that we need to fix the reporting, but again, as soon as we became aware of this, we immediately went to the FEC. We brought the team in that we need to correct it and we will do that.”

Keller: A question the voters may have – If you can’t manage your own campaign operation smoothly or properly how can you manage a $30 billion state government properly?

Coakley: “I’m proud of my record as attorney general. Every dollar we’ve brought to our office, we bring back ten for taxpayers, and, as I’ve said, this is a reporting issue we will correct. The voters, obviously, have a right to look at that. But, I’m confident that they will see, we will correct it, we’ll correct it quickly, and based on my record and what I want to do as governor, moving Massachusetts forward, getting this economy moving, I’ll ask voters to make me the next governor and I’m confident that I’ll get a good reaction from them.”

You can watch the entire interview Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on Keller @ Large on WBZ-TV.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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Jon Keller