Katherine Harris can't understand why she got so many mysterious donations from defense contractor MZM, Inc., but now that the company has become toxic in the wake of the demise of her good friend Duke Cunningham, she's decided to unload them:
U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris has changed her mind and is now ready to dump more than $51,000 in campaign donations that are tied to the growing scandal around former U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham....who neglected to mention that all these people are Republicans.
Harris spokeswoman Morgan Dobbs said Harris doesn't want to be linked with Cunningham and thought it was best to donate the money to a charity. Harris could not be reached Saturday for comment.
Cunningham and Harris have been helping each other on their campaigns for the past few years. In October 2004, Harris brought Cunningham to Sarasota to help her raise money and to attend a candidates debate with her.
In June, Harris was identified as one of the members of Congress that former MZM employees say they say they were pressured into giving campaign donations to.
In March 2004, when MZM officials first offered the contributions, Harris said they told her that the firm planned to open a facility in Sarasota.
Harris said she saw no downside: The deal would have brought at least 40 jobs to her district, and the firm's agents were writing checks to her campaign account. Harris said she was a little puzzled by the donation, since she wasn't assigned to any committees that handled defense budgets or policy that could have helped MZM win contracts.
Harris isn't the only member of Congress trying to return money from MZM and Cunningham. A dozen other members of Congress announced last week that they are giving money they received from Cunningham to charity.
They include Reps. Richard Pombo of California, Jim Nussle of Iowa, Heather Wilson of New Mexico and Charles Dent of Pennsylvania; Sen. John Thune of South Dakota; and Minnesota Senate candidate and Rep. Mark Kennedy.
This summer, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., returned $6,000 she received from MZM officials over the past six years, a spokesman for Dole said.
Can we have a round of applause for the Cunningham Eight?
Update: Shez from the comments points out that it's more like the Cunningham Sixty.
(thanks to reader DB)