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Monday, August 23, 2010

 9:56 AM 

Rangel, Waters donations linked to state congressional Dems

Wisconsin's congressional Democrats have received $35,500 in campaign contributions from a pair of embattled House colleagues since 1998, according to FEC records.

The majority of those contributions went to U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, who has taken in $21,000 U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel's congressional and political action committees -- money that the National Republican Congressional Committee has been pressuring the Appleton Democrat to return.

Rangel, the former chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, was admonished by the House Ethics Committee in February and appears headed for public trial in the House on ethics charges, including improper financial disclosures and fundraising for a facility at the City College of New York.

House Dems have returned more than $600,000 in Rangel contributions, but Wisconsin's incumbents aren't among them to this point.

Two of Kagen's prospective GOP opponents have raised the issue already this year. In March, state Rep. Roger Roth of Appleton said that if Kagen wouldn't accept another $21,000 from Rangel now, "he should return the money immediately," while De Pere Republican Reid Ribble said last month Kagen's refusal "is not what Wisconsin residents deserve."

The NRCC also hit Kagen for his Rangel contributions in 2008, running a TV ad in Green Bay accusing Kagen of voting to spend $2 million "on a personal office and library" for Rangel. Kagen won re-election to his second term a month later over former Assembly Speaker John Gard.

The New York Dem's National Leadership PAC gave $15,000 to Kagen in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, along with $5,000 to U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin in her first three congressional campaigns and $500 to U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore in the 2004 cycle, according to records maintained by OpenSecrets.org since the 1998 cycle.

Rangel's congressional committee contributed another $6,000 to Kagen, while Baldwin, D-Madison, received $4,000 from Rangel for Congress between 1998 and 2002. The committee gave $2,000 to U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, in 2000. Moore, D-Milwaukee, took in $1,000 from the Rangel committee in 2008.

In addition, Baldwin and Moore received contributions from California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who was charged by the House Ethics Committee with improperly helping a bank with ties to her husband obtain federal money.

Moore received $1,000 in the 2006 cycle from Waters' People Helping People PAC, while Baldwin received $1,000 from Waters' congressional campaign during her first bid for Congress in 1998.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee declined comment on the contributions.

U.S. Sen. John Ensign, the Nevada Republican under a cloud for his actions following an affair with a staffer, shows only one PAC contribution to Wisconsin candidates, giving $5,000 to the Senate campaign of Tim Michels in 2004.


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