I have so far been reluctant to care about coverage of Rep. Anthony Weiner's scandal, but this one rises to the level of worthiness: Rep. Bill Owens won't give back $4,000 in campaign contributions that Mr. Weiner sent his way. It's part of a swirling debate in Washington about whether Dem reps should disavow any connection to the New York City politician.
Our Marc Heller reports from Washington:
Rep. William L. Owens won't part with campaign money given to him by Rep. Anthony A. Weiner because he already has — on past campaign expenses.
That is the word from Mr. Owens's spokesman, Sean Magers, deflecting demands from the Republicans' political campaign organization that the congressman and two other New York Democratic lawmakers return Mr. Weiner's money or give it to charity.
Mr. Weiner, whose political career is endangered by a “sexting” scandal, has given Mr. Owens $4,000 in campaign contributions.
“They were from prior campaigns, it's already spent,” Mr. Magers said Wednesday.
Mr. Owens had $130,247 in cash in his campaign account as of the end of March, according to his latest filing at the Federal Election Commission.
The other New York lawmakers who received campaign money are Reps. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, and Tim Bishop, D-Long Island.
A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, Tory Mazzola, called the money “tainted” in a news release.
Four New York Republican House members have not returned campaign contributions from former Rep. Chris Lee, R-Clarence, who resigned after he was discovered to have sent a picture of himself, shirtless, to a woman he met on the Internet through Craigslist. Both Mr. Lee and Mr. Weiner are married.