THURSDAY UPDATE: The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels follows up:
“We donated the money after Aaron Schock resigned and donated it to a veterans organization. As a matter of principle we don’t respond to fake news websites, nor did we feel a need to trumpet the donation. Sorry to upset the left-wing attack machine so desperate to find a flaw with Mike Coffman,” spokesman Tyler Sandburg said…
The Colorado Democratic Party and the liberal group ProgressNow jumped on the story, with ProgressNow urging Coffman to get rid of the “tainted money.”
The big question left unanswered is, when exactly did Coffman get rid of Aaron Schock’s money? We likely won’t know the answer to that until the next quarterly fundraising reports are filed. Hopefully it wasn’t, you know, yesterday afternoon–which would still technically be “after Schock resigned,” though not exactly what you’d call honest about the timing. Original post follows.
As the Colorado Independent’s John Tomasic reports today:
Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman has taken $20,000 since 2008 from disgraced Illinois U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, a flashy figure who rose fast on the national politics stage only to resign in disgrace last month as a scandal unfolded around the free spending approach he adopted toward taxpayer money.
Schock was known less as a serious legislator than as a prodigious fundraiser. He was elected to office when he was only 27 years old, but he charged hard toward the money from the moment he landed in D.C., wooing big donors and doling out cash to his colleagues through his Generation-Y campaign committee.
Since Schock’s resignation on March 31st, recipients of his political donations have sought to put distance between themselves and Schock by donating or returning the Generation Y contributions.
Rep. David Jolly, a Florida Republican, announced the day after Schock resigned that he was donating $5,000 he received from the Generation-Y fund…
But as of this writing, there’s been no word from Rep. Mike Coffman about what (if anything) he plans to do with the much larger amount he received from disgraced ex-Rep. Aaron Schock’s Generation-Y PAC. It’s worth noting that a similar situation on the Democratic side, donations from Sen. Bob Menendez to Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet back in 2010, was swiftly resolved with the money in question given to charity after Menendez’ indictment.
Liberals in Colorado are demanding no less from Coffman today:
“Mike Coffman took thousands of dollars from Aaron Schock, whose financial improprieties with campaign donations resulted in his resignation from Congress and a grand jury investigation,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “Today, fellow Republican lawmakers are returning Schock’s donations, but Coffman has chosen to hold on to his dirty money. We demand Coffman immediately unload the thousands he received from Aaron Schock, or explain to the voters in his district why he is refusing to do so.”
This is a situation where the right choice for Coffman seems obvious: maybe not to return the money to Schock, who has proven he’s not a very good steward of anybody’s money, but a speedy donation to charity is definitely in order. One gets a brief window to do that before the negative press hits, after which you take political damage for failing to distance yourself from the scandal.
Judging from this report, that window is closing fast.