Federal Politics

Published — April 30, 2009 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Senators ask Specter for their money back, but will they return Specter’s?


Three of Arlen Specter’s former Republican Senate colleagues are taking the former GOP-er up on his offer to return contributions they made to his 2010 re-election campaign. The same three received money for their own campaigns from Specter’s now-amusingly named Big Tent PAC. So are they planning to return Specter’s money?

Today, The Hill’s blog listed three Republican Senators who have taken Senator Specter up on his offer to return their contributions “upon request.” They are Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, Senate Republican Caucus Chair Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair John Cornyn of Texas. Each gave $5,000 through individual leadership PACs to Specter’s 2010 re-election effort.

What do these three have in common, aside from their anger at their Pennsylvania colleague? All three received contributions from Specter’s Big Tent PAC: $5,000 for Cornyn in 2002, $10,000 for Corker in 2006, and $10,000 for Alexander in 2008. Cornyn’s National Republican Senatorial Committee, the national campaign committee that works to elect and re-elect Republicans to the Senate, also received $15,000 from the PAC in the 2006 cycle.

We called the offices of all three Senators to ask whether they would be returning Specter’s funds after asking that their own contributions be returned. A spokesman for Senator Alexander said they had no plans to return the money, “because Senator Specter has not asked for it back and Senator Alexander welcomes money from Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.” He declined to speculate on what would happen if Specter did make such a counter-request. Calls to Corker’s and Cornyn’s were not returned, but Cornyn previously called Specter’s party-switch the “height of political self-preservation.”

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