More than 100 members of Congress-past and present-as well as congressional campaign committees and both national parties benefited from $2.4 mn in political donations from the political action committee or employees of the Stanford Financial Group since 2000, says the Center for Responsive Politics.
So Fox Business's David Asman and I want elected officials to answer this question:
"Since the trustee overseeing the Bernie Madoff case now wants to claw back up to $30 bn for investors, should the US district judge overseeing the receivership of Robert Allen Stanford's companies claw back on behalf of aggrieved investors the $2.4 mn in political donations Stanford gave to politicians? Should politicians give back that money to investors?"
The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil charges against Stanford and his companies on Tuesday alleging he and his operation orchestrated an $8 bn securities fraud. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is pursuing criminal charges.
The SEC says Stanford orchestrated a false investment scheme based on selling $8 bn worth of certificates of deposit that promised "improbable, unsubstantiated, high interest rates", quadruple, even quintuple what US banks typically offer.
Stanford, a Texas billionaire, now cited as an international cricket sponsor, Washington political donor and private banker to Latin America's wealthy, had cozied up to elected officials here and in the Carribean to buy political cover. Law enforcement officials are already moving to seize his planes, his yacht and mansion to give redress to investors.
Which Politicians Benefited the Most?
On the whole, Democrats benefited more from Stanford. Of the $2.4 mn in donations tied to the firm since 2000, 65% was directed towards Democrats, says the Center for Responsive Politics.
Of the nearly $1 million donated by Standford and his wife, Susan, 78% was directed to Democrats, says the Center for Responsive Politics.
According to the report, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was the top recipient of Stanford funds with $965,500, although all House and Senate campaign operations benefited from donations. The Republican National Committee also received $161,000.
The Individual Politicians Who Benefited From Stanford
So who are the individual politicians the US district court judge could claw back political donations from?
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla), benefited the most, and now says he will give to charity his $45,900 in donations he received from Stanford's operations.
President Barack Obama was the third-ranking recipient among lawmakers, with $31,750 collected from Stanford company employees during his presidential bid, while $4,600 was from Stanford himself, says the says the Center for Responsive Politics.President Obama's campaign says it will give the $4,600 campaign donation to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, reports indicate.
The president's rival, Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain, was the fifth highest recipient with $28,150. Sen. McCain announced he would donate the money he received from Stanford to charity.
Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), who served prison time for his role in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, received $28,200 (this includes contributions to Ney's candidate committee and leadership political action committee).
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who reportedly flew on Stanford's jet, collected $20,100 from the company between the 2000 and 2006 election cycles.
Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn) got $27,500 from Stanford's operations, says the Center for Responsive Politics. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) got $17,000. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev) received $8,500, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex) $7,300, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received $6,900.
So far, only Nelson, the President, and McCain are giving their donations to charity. None of the politicians so far have said they will give the money back to investors.