Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet is donating to veterans charities $10,000 he received as a candidate in 2010 from a political action committee tied to embattled New Jersey U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, Politico is reporting.
“Our campaign has not accepted any contributions from Senator Menendez this cycle, and we are donating his contributions from 2010 to charitable organizations that serve veterans in Colorado,” Bennet campaign manager Dan McNally told the Washington publication.
Menendez has made headlines since being indicted Wednesday on 14 federal corruption charges. The move comes in the wake of a three-year Justice Department probe. Legal analysts suggest the Department has compiled a strong case, partly based on the fact that the case includes a bribery charges, which are often difficult to substantiate. Menendez allegedly pushed donor business interests in exchange for luxe trips and golf outings.
Menendez’s New Millennium PAC has doled out millions to Democratic candidates for more than a decade and other Democrats are likely to begin similarly returning donations.
Bennet is running for re-election next year and his swing-state seat is already being listed as among the most vulnerable in the Senate.
It comes as no surprise that, after news of the Menendez indictment came down, Republicans began calling on Bennet to return the campaign money from 2010.
In “tea party wave” midterm election year 2010, Bennet was running for office for the first time in his life. He pulled off a dead-heat victory against Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, who last November was elected to represent Colorado’s mostly rural high plains 4th Congressional District.