com­mit­tee holds on to Mad­off money

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY AMANDA CAR­PEN­TER

The Demo­cratic Sen­a­to­rial Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, which re­ceived $100,000 in cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions from disgraced fi­nancier Bernard Mad­off, has yet to rid it­self of the tainted funds that other Wash­ing­ton politi­cos have rushed to shed since the col­lapse of Mad­off ’s $64 bil­lion Ponzi scheme in De­cem­ber.

Mad­off made four sep­a­rate $25,000 do­na­tions to the DSCC since 2005. The most re­cent do­na­tion was made in Septem­ber, ac­cord­ing to cam­paign fi­nance records. The com­mit­tee re­ceived the bulk of Mad­off’s po­lit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions dur­ing that pe­riod.

“We have not re­turned the money yet,” DSCC com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Eric Schultz told The Wash­ing­ton Times.

Other law­mak­ers quickly purged Mad­off cash from their cam­paign ac­counts af­ter the news broke in De­cem­ber that Mad­off bilked his in­vestors.

“Mad­off stole from peo­ple,” said Me­lanie Sloan, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for Ethics and Re­spon­si­bil­ity in Wash­ing­ton. “That money is tainted be­cause it’s stolen and no one should be keep­ing it.”

An anal­y­sis con­ducted by the Cen­ter for Re­spon­sive Pol­i­tics found that Mad­off and his wife, Ruth, gave the bulk of their cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions to Democrats. The cou­ple do­nated $238,200 to fed­eral candidates, par­ties and com­mit­tees since 1991, and Democrats re­ceived 88 per­cent of those do­na­tions.

Mad­off gave $11,400 to nine Repub­li­cans in the same time pe­riod. None of them is in of­fice now. For­mer Rep. Jack Fields of Texas re­ceived the most — $5,000. Other re­cip­i­ents in­cluded for­mer Sen. Al­fonse D’Amato of New York, for­mer Rep. Vito Fos­sella of New York and for­mer Rep. Michael Ox­ley of Ohio.

Nu­mer­ous Democrats have rushed to give away Mad­of­flinked cam­paign cash re­ceived since 1991.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Demo­crat, do­nated the $29,300 he re­ceived from Mad­off and his ex­tended fam­ily to the vic­tims of Mad­off’s fraud. Sen. Ron Wy­den, Ore­gon Demo­crat, do­nated $13,000 con­trib­uted by Mad­off and his wife to an Ore­gon food bank in De­cem­ber, said Wy­den spokes­woman Jen­nifer Hoelzer.

Se­nate Bank­ing, Hous­ing and Ur­ban Af­fairs Com­mit­tee Chair­man Christo­pher J. Dodd, Con­necti­cut Demo­crat, re­ceived $1,500 from the Mad­offs and promptly do­nated the money to the Elie Wiesel Foun­da­tion for Hu­man­ity. Mr. Dodd’s press sec­re­tary, Bryan DeAn­ge­lis, said the se­na­tor “suf­fered con­sid­er­able losses in Mad­off’s scheme.”

Mean­while, sev­eral law­mak­ers as­serted their right to keep do­na­tions given to them by em­ploy­ees of Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional Group Inc., the in­sur­ance gi­ant bailed out by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment at a cost to tax­pay­ers so far of more than $170 bil­lion. AIG is the fo­cus of pub­lic out­rage for re­cently pay­ing mil­lions of dol­lars in ex­ec­u­tive bonuses.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York Demo­crat who is among the most vo­cal crit­ics of the AIG bonus pay, has no plans to re­turn the money.

“Mrs. Maloney has joined with many other mem­bers in de­cid­ing to not ac­cept con­tri­bu­tions from ex­ec­u­tives of com­pa­nies who re­ceive [bailout] funds, and this clearly in­cludes AIG,” a Maloney spokesman said.

Al­though this may be her stan­dard go­ing for­ward, it doesn’t cover the $19,200 she has re­ceived to date — $1,000 of which came from AIG dur­ing the last cam­paign cy­cle.

Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the rank­ing Repub­li­can on the Se­nate bank­ing panel, has re­ceived $31,250 from AIG em­ploy­ees over the past 20 years, but his of­fice noted that Mr. Shelby has “not ac­cepted any po­lit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions from AIG or any other en­tity re­ceiv­ing [tax­payer] funds, since the en­act­ment of [bailout] leg­is­la­tion.”

The $27,750 worth of AIG con­tri­bu­tions to Sen. Charles E. Grass­ley, Iowa Repub­li­can, came with “no strings at­tached,” said press sec­re­tary Beth Pel­lett Levine.

Ev­ery law­maker who re­sponded to The Times’ in­quiries about their plans af­firmed their right to keep past AIG do­na­tions.

Bernard Mad­off

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