Sen. Baucus Returns Funds Tied to Abramoff

From News Services
Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is returning $18,892 in contributions that his office has found to be connected to indicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, his spokesman said yesterday.

Included in the returned donations was an estimated $1,892 that was never reported for the use of Abramoff's skybox at the MCI Center in downtown Washington in 2001.

The state's other two members of Congress, Republican Sen. Conrad Burns and Republican Rep. Dennis Rehberg, returned their own contributions last week. Burns returned an estimated $150,000, while Rehberg returned almost $20,000.

Abramoff, already charged with fraud in a separate Florida case, is at the center of a federal inquiry that has entangled at least half a dozen lawmakers and Bush administration officials. The Justice Department is investigating whether he won any undue influence through donations and favors.

Two newspapers, the Washington Times and the Union Leader in Manchester, N.H., said they would stop publishing articles by conservative commentator Peter Ferrara, who was paid by Abramoff to write pieces favorable to his clients.

Ferrara, a prominent advocate of Social Security reform, said in a statement he had not accepted payments from Abramoff or other lobbyists for his op-ed articles for several years.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company