Sestak Donates Rangel’s Campaign Contributions

Posted July 29, 2010 at 5:53pm

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) has donated $12,000 in campaign contributions that he received from embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) to a foundation that funds childhood cancer research.

Sestak, who is running for the Senate, said Thursday evening that he decided in the last 24 to 36 hours to donate the money to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The cause hits close to home for Sestak, whose daughter battled a brain tumor as a toddler.

Sestak has come under fire for keeping the cash from Rangel, who was charged by a special ethics subcommittee Thursday with 13 counts of violating House rules and federal laws.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee pounced on Sestak and a handful of other Democratic Senate hopefuls Thursday for accepting and failing to return contributions from Rangel. Sestak said he decided not to keep the money amid news reports that Rangel may have cut a deal with members of the ethics panel.

“I thought it was the right thing at this time,” he said, adding that a settlement “meant that some acceptance of responsibility was being done by Mr. Rangel.” No deal has materialized.

Sestak, a retired Navy admiral, won election to the House in 2006 after campaigning on the Naval Academy tenet, “Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t cheat.” That theme was effective at ousting 10-term Republican Curt Weldon, who was accused of using his post to get contracts for his daughter’s lobbying firm.