Sen. Nelson: I requested all funds be donated

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) says he requested that his re-election campaign donate all of the money it received from former Sen. Al Franken's political action committee after a review of federal elections records showed it had only donated half.

Posted: Sep 24, 2018 8:22 AM
Updated: Sep 24, 2018 8:22 AM

Update: After this story was published, Nelson's campaign said it would donate all the money it had received from Franken's PAC during the past two cycles.

Sen. Bill Nelson's re-election campaign said it will donate the remaining half of the money it received from former Sen. Al Franken's political action committee, a review of federal elections records reveals.

After Franken was accused of sexual misconduct in November of last year, a wave of Senate Democrats vowed to donate to charity the money they had received from Franken's PAC. Multiple Florida news outlets in November and December cited a Nelson campaign spokesman saying the campaign would donate money it had received from Midwest Values PAC, Franken's organization, although those statements didn't specify the exact amount of the contributions the campaign intended to donate.

Franken apologized for some of the behavior he was accused of, though he denied other accusations.

Records from the Federal Election Commission show that Nelson's campaign received a total of $20,000 -- $10,000 in the 2012 election cycle and $10,000 in the 2018 cycle. Just a few days after the initial allegations against Franken emerged, Nelson's campaign donated $10,000 to "5,000 Role Models of Excellence Project," a program that helps "at-risk boys" in Miami-Dade County through mentoring.

However, the campaign did not donate the other $10,000 from the 2012 cycle as of Saturday morning.

After this story's publication, Nelson and his campaign said it would donate all the money it had received from Franken's PAC during the past two cycles.

"I requested that they return all of it, and they did, in the last election. However, there was some donated in the previous election," Nelson said in an interview with CNN's Ana Cabrera on Saturday. "That election was closed, so I told them to go back and contribute that to charity as well. And as you all brought it to light, that's what I've said, and that's what's being done today."

After the story published and prior to Nelson's comments on CNN, campaign spokesman Ryan Brown said Nelson "made clear to his campaign today that any money received from former Sen. Al Franken was to be donated to charity, not just for the 2018 race, but also any contribution from the 2012 race as well."

Nelson is locked in a tight race with Florida Gov. Rick Scott to keep his seat this November.

Multiple Democratic senators up for re-election this year donated money they had received from Franken's PAC dating back longer than the current cycle.

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri received $30,000 from Midwest Values over three cycles and donated $30,000 to Missouri food banks in November 2017, according to FEC records.

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana received $25,000 from over three cycles and donated $25,000 to a domestic and sexual violence prevention organization in November 2017.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin received $15,000 from Franken's PAC over the past two cycles and donated $20,000 to a women's veterans program on November 16, 2017.

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