DSCC - Sununu Funds to NRSC May Support Indicted Ted Stevens (R-AK) Re-election Bid

Democrats call on Sununu to stop his campaign money from being spent to support Ted Stevens

According to a report in today’s edition of Roll Call , the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to which John Sununu donated $30,000 this cycle, now says it supports indicted-Senator Ted Stevens’ re-election bid, is polling voters in the state, and is refusing to say whether it will spend money on his behalf through advertising or other campaign spending. After Stevens was indicted in July, Sununu returned $10,000 of the $47,000 Stevens has contributed to him, the GOP caucus removed Stevens from his committee leadership posts, and the NRSC refused to publicly endorse the incumbent in his primary.

With even Alaska Governor Sarah Palin refusing to endorse Stevens’ bid, Senate Republicans like John Sununu face a critical test of their ethical standards: do they allow their campaign arm to spend money to support a senator indicted by the Bush Justice Department, or do they hew to the standard they set when they removed Stevens from his leadership positions and returned some of his contributions. Stevens’ trial on federal corruption charges is set to begin on September 22, and yesterday was the final day by which he could be removed from the ballot – meaning that every dime spent by national Republicans in Alaska now goes to support his re-election.

“If John Sununu wants to say that he rejected some of Ted Stevens’ money out of principle and not for appearances, then he has an obligation to call on the NRSC to stop spending his money trying to bail Stevens out,” DSCC spokesman Matthew Miller said. “It’s time for John Sununu to put his money where his mouth is – if he thinks Ted Stevens is corrupt enough that he needed to return some of his money and strip him of his leadership posts, then Sununu shouldn’t let his money be used to support Stevens’ campaign. This is an ethics test for John Sununu, and voters will be watching how he responds.”

Sununu Still Has $37,000 In Stevens Money. Senator John Sununu has received a total of $47,000 from Stevens’ Northern Lights PAC, Northern Lights’ Non-Federal Account and Stevens’ senate committee. He has only donated to charity the $10,000 he received from Stevens this election cycle. [CQ Money Line; First Read, MSNBC, 7/30/08 ]

Sununu Attended 2004 Fishing Trip With Stevens, VECO Executives. In 2004, Sununu attended the Kenai River Classic on a fishing trip organized by Sen. Stevens and Robert Penney. VECO CEO Bill Allen, Carl Marrs and Jim Jansen also attended. [Marketplace Radio, 10/11/07 ]

NRSC Declined to Endorse Stevens. In July, the NRSC refused to endorse Stevens when asked about the indictment saying that they would not “make any comment.” When asked directly about endorsing Stevens, the NRSC said, “We’ll wait to see how the process plays out. There’s a primary.” [ Roll Call , 07/30/08 ]

Palin Expressed “Concern” and “Dismay” In Statement about Stevens Indictment. In July, Governor Palin released a statement about Stevens’ indictment. Palin said, “ News such as this rocks the foundation of our state. Senator Ted Stevens has dedicated his life to the betterment of Alaska. I share Alaskans’ concern and dismay at this turn of events. It is my hope our legislators do not let this distressing news distract them from their critical work in the current special session.” [Palin Press Release, 07/29/08]

Stevens Forced to Give up Leadership Positions After Indictment. After his indictment in July Stevens was forced to give up his leadership posts by the Senate Republican caucus. Stevens was forced to step down from his ranking member position on the Commerce Committee, the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery. [CQ, 07/29/08 ]