Himes ponders whether to return $2K in donations from Weiner
Updated 11:19 am, Tuesday, June 14, 2011
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., under pressure from the National Republican Congressional Committee to distance himself from fellow House Democrat Anthony Weiner, is entertaining whether to return $2,000 in political contributions he received from the embattled lawmaker.
"Rep. Himes believes the House Ethics Committee should conduct a complete investigation into Anthony Weiner's activities," said Elizabeth Kerr, a spokeswoman for Himes. "In the past, Rep. Himes has returned money when he felt the source had been compromised, and he is making similar considerations now."
Himes received $1,000 from the Queens, N.Y., Democrat for his first campaign in 2008 and $1,000 for his successful re-election bid in 2010, according to his office, which acknowledged that the money has already been spent.
"Anthony Weiner lied and had outrageous denials of these improper Internet relationships for days," said Tory Mazzola, a spokesman for the NRCC. "Now he's under investigation by the Ethics Committee, and that's why Jim Himes should get rid of this tainted campaign cash."
At least three of Himes' Democratic colleagues have attempted to divest themselves of money from Weiner since the married congressman's tearful admission of his text-message dalliances with several women, including a college co-ed who received a Twitter image of his underwear-clad crotch area.
Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., donated $1,000 to charity Wednesday to offset a donation he received in the same amount from Weiner.
Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., a high-ranking leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, became the first member of Weiner's own party Wednesday to call for his resignation. At least five other Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives have followed suit.
Mazzola shrugged off questions about whether House Republicans had returned campaign contributions from former Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y., who resigned in February after the married lawmaker got caught soliciting a male-to-female transsexual on Craigslist and sent her a shirtless photo taken with his BlackBerry.
Weiner's woes mounted Wednesday as a photo said to show his naked genitals circulated on the Internet.
Staff writer Neil Vigdor can be reached at email@example.com or at 203-625-4436.