Ed Henry falsely claimed that Sen. Byron Dorgan accepted and "had to give back" campaign contributions from Jack Abramoff and his wife; in fact, there is no record Dorgan ever received contributions from either of them.
CNN congressional correspondent Ed Henry claimed that Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) accepted and "had to give back" campaign contributions from former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his wife, Pam. In fact, there is no record Dorgan ever received contributions from either Jack Abramoff or his wife.
On the January 3 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, Henry stated, "I mentioned some Democrats -- Byron Dorgan, Democrat from North Dakota -- he's also had to give back a lot of money he received from Abramoff and Abramoff's wife." However, a search of the Center for Responsive Politics' database (here, here and here) did not turn up any data showing that Dorgan ever received contributions from either Abramoff or his wife. On December 13, Dorgan announced he was returning all campaign contributions he received from Abramoff's former partners and Indian tribe clients, which he contends were legal.
On January 3, Abramoff pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, and tax evasion.
From the January 3 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, which featured anchor Wolf Blitzer:
BLITZER: Ed, what about those who may be sweating the most right now? Because this follows Michael Scanlon, who was another top aide up on the Hill, who worked with Jack Abramoff. It follows a series of events that could cause some major players here in Washington to be sweating big-time.
HENRY: That's right. I mean, if you look at it -- first of all, I mentioned [former House Majority Leader] Tom DeLay [R-TX]. He's somebody who is very close to Jack Abramoff. He received all kinds of campaign contributions from Abramoff -- his clients. Then, you also have [House Administration Committee chairman] Bob Ney -- I mentioned -- a Republican of Ohio. He went on a big golf trip to Scotland with Jack Abramoff in 2002; allegations now being raised that a non-profit really did not pay for that trip. It would have been proper for a non-profit to pay for it, but that it was actually Abramoff, his lobbying clients paying for it. And to look back, Tom DeLay went on a similar golf trip to Scotland two years before the Bob Ney trip. So there are some of the gifts that are really under the microscope.
Also Conrad Burns, a Republican senator from Montana. He's up for reelection. He's seen his poll numbers plummet. He's had to give back all kinds of money from Jack Abramoff. His poll numbers in Montana plummeting because of those ties to Abramoff.
And then finally, I mentioned some Democrats -- Byron Dorgan, Democrat from North Dakota. He's also had to give back a lot of money he received from Abramoff and Abramoff's wife. That's been embarrassing for Democrats for two reasons. No. 1, Dorgan was one of the people investigating Abramoff on the Hill.
But secondly, Democrats are trying to say, in these midterm elections coming up, that there's a culture of Republican corruption, culture of corruption and cronyism. If Democrats get drawn into this, Wolf, it's going to be hard to make that charge. Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Ed Henry reporting for us. Ed, thank you very much.