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GOP calls on Senate hopeful Donnelly to return donations

A national Republican group calls on U.S. Senate hopeful Joe Donnelly to return $7,230 in donations from former St. Joseph County Democratic leader Butch Morgan, who faces charges for alleged misdeeds related to the Democratic presidential primary in Indiana in 2008.
Posted on April 6, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Joe Donnelly is now finding himself in the firing line.

The increasingly heated race for the Senate post currently held by Republican Dick Lugar has been characterized thus far by a lot of elbow-throwing between adherents of Lugar and his GOP challenger, Richard Mourdock.

On Thursday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee shoved Donnelly into the fray, calling on him to return $7,230 he’s received in donations over the years from “his indicted friend” Butch Morgan. Morgan, the former St. Joseph County Democratic Party chairman, was formallly charged this week in connection with alleged efforts to forge names on petitions to place Democratic presidential hopefuls on Indiana’s 2008 primary ballot.

“From tainted campaign contributions to standing with President Obama on healthcare and the stimulus, Joe Donnelly doesn’t seem to understand Hoosier values,” NRSC spokesman Lance Trover said in a statement. The Washington D.C.-based NRSC is a political committee that promotes GOP U.S. Senate hopefuls.

Soon therafter, the campaign of the Granger Democrat said the Morgan money would be donated to a yet-to-be determined charity.

“Hoosiers must have faith in the democratic process,” Donnelly, who holds Indiana’s District 2 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, said in his own statement. “To that end, I believe the rule of law must be upheld. These charges are very serious, and I think that those who are found guilty of these crimes must be punished accordingly.”

According to the NRSC statement, Morgan contributed the $7,230 to Donnelly between Dec. 31, 2003, and Oct. 2, 2011. The statement also cited press coverage in years past noting the political connections between the two men.

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