What Changed, Joe Sestak?

Sestak Returned Contribution from Indicted Donor in 2010, But Refuses to Return $5,000 Donation from Indicted Senator Now

HARRISBURG — Republican Party of Pennsylvania Communications Director Megan Sweeney released the following statement regarding Joe Sestak’s policy regarding campaign contributions from indicted individuals.

“Why has Joe Sestak suddenly flip-flopped on accepting money from indicted donors?” Sweeney asked. “Joe Sestak’s latest campaign has been marred by miscues and controversy since its launch. Now, Joe Sestak has decided to change his own standard on indicted donors so he can keep the thousands of dollars he received from Senator Bob Menendez.

“What makes Bob Menendez’s contribution so important that Sestak would reverse course on his own campaign standard?

“Voters are waiting for an explanation as to why he has changed his mind by keeping this money. If voters can’t trust Joe Sestak’s judgment as a candidate, how could they trust him in office?”

2009: Joe Sestak Returns 2006 Donation He Received In 2006 From Indicted Defense Contractor. “Kickback charges against a defense contractor are putting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee under pressure to return $17,000 in campaign donations. At press time, the DCCC had not said whether it would return funds donated over the last three election cycles by Richard Ianieri, former president and CEO of Coherent Systems International Corp., who faces the kickback charges. He also gave $13,500 to Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.). … In the last three election cycles, Ianieri cut checks to several other Democrats, including $5,300 to Rep. Patrick Murphy (Pa.), $2,000 to Rep. Chet Edwards (Texas), $1,500 to Rep. Neil Abercrombie (Hawaii), $1,000 to Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.) and $1,400 to Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.). … Sestak’s office said he had already returned the money, while Edwards said he gave $2,000 to charity Tuesday after the campaign learned of the kickback charges. ‘In light of the news of the indictment, [Sestak] decided to return the lone contribution he received from Mr. Ianieri in 2006,’ Sestak spokesman Jonathon Dworkin said in a statement.” (Susan Crabtree, “DCCC, Murtha Face Decisions On Funds Donated By Indicted Defense Contractor,” The Hill, 7/7/09)

2015: Sen. Bob Menendez Has Been Indicted On Corruption Charges. “Sen. Bob Menendez has been charged with using his office to improperly benefit a Florida eye doctor and political donor. A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted the New Jersey Democrat on charges including conspiracy to commit bribery and wire fraud.”(Eric Tucker and Jill Colvin, “New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez Indicted on Corruption Charges,” The Associated Press, 04/01/15)

Bob Menendez’s New Millennium PAC Donated $5,000 To Joe Sestak’s Campaign. (Center For Responsive Politics, www.opensecrets.org, Accessed 3/6/15)

Sestak Campaign Refuses To Return Campaign Contributions from Bob Menendez (Jonathan Tamari Tweet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/7/2015)