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Tag Archive: Legal Defense Funds

Sens. Ayotte, Menendez continue raising money for their defense funds

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Sens. Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J.

While candidates and their supporters wooed donors to bankroll their campaign committees in this year’s elections, two senators continued to maintain legal defense funds that attracted thousands of dollars from deep-pocketed supporters and their parties' leadership.

Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., both filed third quarter reports with the Ethics Committee listing donations to funds set up to provide financial support from lawsuits against political opponents. Ayotte has raised $147,000, and Menendez $120,000 since setting up the legal defense fund. 

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Legal Defense Funds

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Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Rep. Jim McDermott of a ruling that he acted improperly by passing on to reporters a recording of a 1996 telephone call where Republican leaders talked strategy in regard to the ethics case pending against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). This week's decision also leaves standing a previous court ruling saying that McDermott would have to pay $60,000 in damages and $800,000 in legal bills to now House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who had sued the Washington Democrat in 1998.

The question is, how is McDermott going to pay? CQ looked into whether he can use a legal-defense fund to help pay Boehner and it seems possible. It turns out that McDermott is one of six House members who maintain active legal defense funds, reporting contributions this year. CQ says that the rise in these separate accounts funds is a result of an increase in Justice Department and Federal Election Commission investigations.

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