When controversy bubbles up around Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), Republicans are quick to attack Democrats who have received contributions from the embattled Ways and Means chairman, and this week has been no exception.
Reps. Jim Himes (Conn.) and Niki Tsongas (Mass.), both of whom could face strong challenges in November, announced that they would be giving their donations — a few thousand dollars each — to charity.
But if other Democrats follow suit, the sums could be quite large.
A review of campaign finance records shows that Rangel, who was admonished by the House ethics committee over his privately funded travel, has since 2005 either given or raised about $5 million for candidates and party committees via his political action committee, joint fundraising committee and campaign committee.
The largest beneficiary during that period was the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which received $1.2 million.
Some individual House campaigns, primarily participants in a joint fundraising committee called Rangel Victory Fund, have raised more than $50,000 with Rangel’s help. Among the top recipients of Rangel’s fundraising assistance are three New Yorkers with competitive contests this fall: Reps. Dan Maffei, Eric Massa and Michael McMahon.
Each raised at least $40,000 via the Rangel Victory Fund in the previous election cycle, as well as thousands more in donations directly from Rangel.