LITTLE ROCK – Sen. Mark Pryor will give $1,000 from his campaign to charity after state Republican officials said he should return a contribution he received six years ago from embattled New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a spokesman said Tuesday.
Pryor, D-Ark., received $1,000 during his 2002 Senate bid from Spitzer while the two were both attorneys general. Spitzer now faces calls to resign after being snared in a prostitution scandal. Pryor is running for a second term with no major party opposition.
Pryor doesn't believe there was anything improper about the contribution but will donate $1,000 from his re-election campaign to charity, spokesman Michael Teague said. Pryor had not yet decided which charity would receive the money.
"It just feels like it's probably the right thing to do, to give that money to charity," Teague said.
Pryor decided to donate the money after the state GOP issued a statement urging him and the Democratic Party of Arkansas, which received $2,000 from Spitzer in 2006, to return the money.
"As political leaders, we should be committed to integrity in our system and in those who make financial contributions to our organizations and candidates," State GOP Chairman Dennis Milligan said.
Teague accused state Republicans of hypocrisy, noting a $10,000 contribution the party received in 2001 from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who's in prison and the key figure in a federal corruption investigation. The state GOP in 2006 said it would be unrealistic to return Abramoff's donation because five years had passed since the contribution.
Darinda Sharp, a spokeswoman for the state Democratic party, also criticized the state GOP for the Abramoff contribution, and said the party doesn't have any plans to return the money it received. She called Milligan's statement "a ridiculous grandstand from a broken party."