Saturday, March 1, 2014

Federal Lawmakers Honor Donation Pledge During Government Shutdown

At least 116 of the 244 lawmakers who pledged to return part of their pay have donated more than $494,500 to charity or back to government accounts to help pay down the federal deficit during the  16-day government shutdown last fall, reports the Washington Post.

It goes on to say, "Veterans groups, crisis pregnancy centers and high school sports teams have all received donations from Democrats and Republicans. As did Catholic and Jewish aid organizations, the Boy Scouts of America, groups helping Colorado flood victims and dozens of food banks...

The largest known single donation came from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who gave $10,000 to the Consortium of Catholic Academies, a nonprofit group supporting inner-city Catholic schoolchildren in the Washington Archdiocese. Feinstein ranks among the wealthiest members of Congress and is co-chairman of an annual fundraising dinner for the organization. Also donating $10,000, Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) split the money between the Wounded Warrior Project and the North Dakota National Guard Foundation.

Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.) donated to a Pittsburgh television station that buys Thanksgiving turkeys for the poor. Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) wrote checks to 48 charities across his district. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) sent more than $9,300 to the University of Tennessee, and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) distributed $5,000 to food banks in his state. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), a breast cancer survivor, donated about $2,000 to a breast cancer awareness group called Beer for Boobs.

The federal government also got in on the action. At least 15 lawmakers sent back more than $87,400 to the Treasury, including Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), $5,049.76; Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), $5,476.15; Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), $6,098.28; and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), $7,733.33.

Congressional watchdogs said they could not recall a similar instance in which so many lawmakers donated so much money in response to a single event."

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