A government watchdog group is calling on a number of high-ranking Democratic senators to return campaign cash they received from the super PAC of Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), who is now on trial for corruption charges.
Menendez made tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to the campaign committees of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Tim Kaine (D., Va.), Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Jon Tester (D., Mont.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), and Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) long after Menendez was indicted on alleged corruption charges, the Washington Free Beacon previously reported.
"The fact that Senators took campaign donations from Menendez's New Millennium PAC well after Menendez was indicted on a long list of very serious charges amounts to a tacit endorsement of egregious and potentially criminal behavior," said Matthew Whitaker, executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a Washington, D.C.,-based watchdog group.
"The hypocrisy of some of these Senators when it comes to passing ethical judgment on others is astounding, as they are often the first to cry foul when the appearance of impropriety involves their political opponents," added Whitaker. "Therefore, I think for the good of consistency, and more importantly transparency and maintaining trust in government, the PAC donations should be returned."
Menendez gave $10,000 to the campaigns of Kaine, Stabenow, Tester, and Gillibrand from the New Millennium PAC, his super PAC. Menendez also gave $5,000 to the campaign committees of Warren and Murphy. Menendez made the contributions to his Democratic colleagues between February and June of this year.