DSCC Keeps Madoff Money; Mainstream Media Virtually Silent

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has apparently decided to keep $100K in contributions from Bernie Madoff, who faces up to 150 years in prison for swindling billions from the likes of Steven Spielberg, Elie Wiesel, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick in a massive Ponzi scheme.

In campaigns, one side often calls on the other to return money for one reason or another. Sometimes it's valid, sometimes not. Regardless, it's Campaign 101. But when the contributor in question is the single biggest financial criminal in history, there can be no question that those illicit funds should not remain in campaign coffers.

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) gave thousands in Madoff donations to charity. Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) are doing the same.

Given the economic uncertainty our nation faces and that Madoff not only fleeced the rich and famous but major corporations such as HSBC — in other words, Madoff swindled all of us — the DSCC's decision is shockingly tone-deaf.

However, what’s almost equally surprising is the virtual silence from the media. During the Enron scandal, returning campaign money was a daily drumbeat, as were the news stories discussing Enron’s purported ties to President Bush. Now, when the Democratic Senate campaign vehicle makes the conscious decision to keep $100K in Madoff money, stolen just as if it came from a bank holdup, there's little to no outrage. Why?

Here's a suggestion for members of the media — ask Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who himself was robbed by Madoff, what he thinks of the DSCC keeping stolen money in order to help fund his colleagues’ Senate campaigns this election cycle.