Archive for Friday, June 20, 2003

Congressmen return Westar donations

June 20, 2003

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— Two Republicans in Congress said Thursday they will give away campaign donations from the now-indicted former CEO of a utility. Several other recipients declined to do so, saying the contributions had already been spent.

Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., who received $1,000 last year from former Westar Energy CEO David Wittig, said through a spokeswoman that his policy is to return donations from anyone facing formal charges.

Sununu will give $1,000 to charity, as will Rep. Richard Burr of North Carolina, whose fund-raising organization received $1,000 last year from Wittig.

Wittig was indicted last November on charges of conspiracy and making false reports to a bank over an alleged $1.5 million loan and land scheme.

The action by Sununu and Burr follows news stories about internal Westar documents outlining a plan for over $55,000 in campaign donations "to get a seat at the table" of a House-Senate conference committee considering the Bush administration's energy plan. Westar was seeking an exemption from regulatory oversight that could have helped it save billions of dollars.

Congressional Republicans dropped their support for the exemption after Westar came under grand jury investigation last fall.

Public Citizen, a group founded by Ralph Nader, called on other members of Congress who received donations from the former Westar CEO to return them.

Those whose campaigns or political action committees got money from Westar's now-indicted former CEO include House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Billy Tauzin of Louisiana, energy subcommittee chairman Joe Barton of Texas, Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri and Anne Northup of Kentucky.

Martha Stewart leaves federal court in New York where she appeared
for a status conference. A federal judge Thursday set a Jan. 12
trial date for Stewart, the home decorating and cooking maven who
faces charges arising from a stock-trading scandal.

Martha Stewart leaves federal court in New York where she appeared for a status conference. A federal judge Thursday set a Jan. 12 trial date for Stewart, the home decorating and cooking maven who faces charges arising from a stock-trading scandal.

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