Democrat senator to return Podesta’s ‘dirty’ campaign cash


As a Democratic super lobbyist, Tony Podesta financed a slew of politicians over the years. But after special counsel Robert Mueller expanded the Russian probe to include Podesta himself, at least one politician has made the decision to return Podesta’s campaign cash.

Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) announced in an interview on Sunday that he plans to give back the $2,000 Podesta contributed to his re-election campaign. “It’s a minimal amount, and I’m more than happy to send it back,” he said.

Donnelly is one of seven Democratic senators to have accepted donations from Podesta for their 2018 campaigns. Tony Podesta’s brother, John, was the campaign chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Here’s a list, according to FEC filings, of those Democratic senators up for re-election in states President Trump won last November (not including Donnelly) who took Podesta funding:

  • Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill: $1,500
  • North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp: $1,000
  • Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin: $1,000
  • West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin: $1,000
  • Montana Sen. Jon Tester: $1,000
  • California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose seat is considered safely Democratic but is facing a primary challenger, received an undisclosed amount.
  • Podesta also gave the legal maximum of $33,900 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Podesta’s once-powerful lobbying firm, which will close by the end of the year, now stands accused of purposefully concealing its lobbying work on behalf of a think tank with connections to pro-Russia forces in the Ukrainian government.

According to a report in the Washington Examiner, the indictment of Trump campaign operatives Paul Manafort and Rick Gates published last month made veiled references to Podesta’s firm, alleging that the Ukraine work completed by the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs was orchestrated by Manafort and Gates in an effort to minimize the extent of public disclosure.

Podesta announced he was stepping down from the firm shortly after the indictment of Manafort and Gates became public. His high profile in Democratic circles makes the alleged scandal of great interest to Republicans, who see Podesta’s involvement as a sign Democrats’ hands are as dirty as anyone’s when it comes to alleged Russian collusion, according to the report.

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