NEW YORK – The Irish rock band U2 (search) is complaining about U.S. lawmakers using its concerts to raise campaign money.
Politicians, including Rick Santorum (search), a powerful Senate Republican, have scheduled fund-raising events in arena skyboxes during shows for the band's North American Vertigo tour, which runs through the end of December.
Jamie Drummond, executive director of DATA (search), an Africa advocacy group co-founded by U2 singer Bono, said in a message posted on the band's Web site: "Neither DATA nor Bono are involved in these (fund-raisers), and they cannot be controlled. The U2 concerts are categorically not fund-raisers for any politician — they are rock concerts for U2 fans."
Bono is a dedicated lobbyist for the world's poor and AIDS-stricken.
Santorum's press secretary, Robert Traynham, said Thursday that the Pennsylvania senator's decision to hold a fund-raiser during Sunday's Philadelphia show is based on his "deep respect and admiration for Bono and their work together over the last few years to fight the global spread of HIV-AIDS."
Traynham said Santorum's office hasn't spoken with Bono about the issue, but that it's routine for elected officials to host such fund-raisers at sporting and cultural events.
The fund-raiser will go ahead as planned, Traynham said.
Santorum, a two-term incumbent and ally of U.S. President George W. Bush, has about $6.6 million cash on hand for next year's election, his office said.