Dole, worried about her own seat, quickly cuts Stevens ties

McClatchy NewspapersJuly 29, 2008 

WASHINGTON — Hours after Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was indicted on Tuesday, his GOP colleague Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina sent his money to charity.

Dole donated $10,000 from her campaign to the Society of St. Andrew, a Christian anti-hunger organization, to equal the cash received this cycle from Stevens' political action committee.

The move came one day after Dole's spokeswoman confirmed that she would not attend her party's national convention in September so that she could spend meeting with contituents in North Carolina.

Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with seven counts of failing to disclose more than $250,000 worth of gifts to businessmen currying his favor on federal projects.

Stevens is one of the Senate’s most powerful members.

Dole received two $5,000 contributions on a single day in March 2007, according to campaign finance reports.

Dole faces a tough re-election race against Democratic state senator Kay Hagan. Hagan called on Dole Friday to return a total of $21,000 that Dole’s campaign received from Stevens and his committee between 2001 to 2007.

"Elizabeth Dole should immediately return, or donate to charity, the $21,000 she received from Ted Stevens," said Hagan’s spokeswoman, Colleen Flanagan, in a statement.

But $11,000 of the money was given in Dole's first election campaign and "doesn’t exist anymore," said Dole campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley.

"It took us about three hours to give the money over to the charity," Gidley said. "We saw the guy got indicted, and we moved to cut the check."

He said he didn't know whether the check was made out before or after Hagan's demand.

But he accused Hagan, by contrast, of taking three days to return a $250 donation in June from legendary music producer Phil Specter, who is awaiting retrial on charges of murder.

"(Hagan) took three days to figure out to send the money back to the guy who shot his girlfriend in the face," Gidley said. Specter has not been convicted of the charge.

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