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The leadership offerings from the cult that gave us MONKEY BOY BUSH and SHOTGUN DICK CHENEY has become a dark comedy. :angry: Read the following:


Palin kept donations from tainted politicians

By STEVE QUINN and JUSTIN PRITCHARD, Associated Press Writers

53 minutes ago

JUNEAU, Alaska - Sarah Palin felt so strongly about the public corruption indictment of a Republican state senator this summer that she urged him to resign — but not strongly enough to return the $1,000 he gave to help elect her governor.

The donation from John Cowdery was one of three from Alaska legislators who contributed to Palin's 2006 campaign weeks after the FBI raided their offices. The sprawling public corruption scandal that followed became a rallying point for candidate Palin, who was swept into office after promising voters she would rid Alaska's capital of dirty politics.

One of the three donors is in prison, another is awaiting trial and Cowdery was indicted in July on two federal bribery counts. Palin, now GOP presidential nominee John McCain's running mate, has not returned any of their donations, according to campaign finance disclosures reviewed Thursday.

Over the years, both McCain and Democratic nominee Barack Obama have returned campaign donations tied to corruption, expressing regret in both cases. Obama's campaign says he's given to charity $159,000 tied to convicted Chicago real estate developer Antoin "Tony" Rezko. In the early 1990s, McCain returned $112,000 from Charles Keating, a central figure in the savings and loan crisis, after a Senate ethics inquiry.

The contributions to the Palin-Sean Parnell campaign fund do not suggest any wrongdoing — lawmakers typically spread donations around to other candidates, and none had any obvious connection to the rising Republican star before she took office.

Palin's campaign did not immediately respond Thursday to an inquiry from The Associated Press.

The federal investigation revolves around an oil field services firm once known as VECO Corp., whose executives remain at the center of the trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens that began this week in Washington.

Prosecutors say Stevens lied on his financial disclosure forms about more than $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts he received from VECO. In Alaska, the federal government has leveled more serious charges: That the company and its bosses systematically tried to corrupt lawmakers by plying them with money or gifts in exchange for their votes.

On Aug. 31, 2006, FBI agents searched the offices of six state lawmakers, including Cowdery and state Reps. Pete Kott and Bruce Weyhrauch.

The government had secretly taped Cowdery and Kott in separate conversations that prosecutors say proved they conspired with VECO officials to bribe legislators to support changes in Alaska's oil tax structure. Weyhrauch allegedly promised to support VECO's position in exchange for consideration for future work as a lawyer.

VECO quickly came to symbolize outsized corruption in Alaska and Palin was able to capitalize: As the GOP nominee for governor, she campaigned as an outsider and made a public point of saying she didn't want money from the company or its employees.

The same did not apply to lawmakers snagged in the federal investigation: By October 2006, Palin's campaign had received one donation from each man, $25 from Kott and $30 from Weyhrauch in addition to Cowdery's $1,000. Separately, Cowdery's wife, Juanita, contributed $1,000 and Kott's wife, Cynthia, gave $25. Neither is accused of any wrongdoing.

The fact that Palin has kept Cowdery's donation is notable, given that on July 10, the day after he was indicted by a federal grand jury, the governor issued a statement asking him to "step down, for the good of the state."

Cowdery, who is not running for re-election, has denied wrongdoing. Weyhrauch, who no longer holds office, has pleaded not guilty and his trial is pending. Kott was sentenced in December to six years for accepting VECO bribes.

Earlier this month, the McCain campaign dismissed as meaningless media reports that Palin had received at least $4,500 from VECO employees during her unsuccessful 2002 run for lieutenant governor. At that time, VECO was untainted and still a powerful force in state politics.

Palin has $49,540 in her gubernatorial campaign fund, according to the latest disclosures filed with the state

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