Bloomberg News

Obama Campaign Returns $70,000 of Corzine Campaign Donations

December 30, 2011

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign returned campaign contributions from Jon S. Corzine, former chairman and chief executive officer of MF Global Holdings Ltd., according to a Democratic official.

Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee refunded the money from the former New Jersey governor out of an abundance of caution, said the official, who requested anonymity. Republicans have criticized the president for keeping contributions from the head of a firm that collapsed and filed for bankruptcy.

Corzine, 64, and his wife, Sharon Elghanayan, each contributed $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee and $5,000 to Obama’s campaign, the maximum amounts that individuals are allowed to give, said the official. Corzine, who testified before a congressional panel about MF Global’s bankruptcy and $1.2 billion in missing customer funds, has been one of Obama’s top fundraisers this election cycle. In April, Corzine hosted a fundraiser for Obama at his Manhattan home.

Corzine was one of 41 donors who bundled more than $500,000 this year for Obama’s re-election effort, according to documents released by the campaign Oct. 14. So-called bundlers arrange for contributions from other people and funnel the money to campaigns.

Bundled Contributions

Obama’s campaign doesn’t plan to return those bundled donations and will evaluate other contributions from MF Global employees on a case-by-case basis, according to the Democratic official.

Over the past 20 years, Corzine, along with his first and second wives, directly contributed $917,000 to Democratic committees and candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, which tracks political giving.

“While he returned the money after enormous political pressure, this still doesn’t change the fact that Corzine was the architect of the failed stimulus project,” said Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee. “If this was anything more than a political PR stunt, he would give back the full $500,000 that Corzine bundled from Wall Street.”

Steven Goldberg, a spokesman for Corzine, didn’t have an immediate comment.

--With assistance from Michael J. Moore in New York. Editors: Bob Drummond, Laurie Asseo

To contact the reporter on this story: Hans Nichols in Washington at hnichols2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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