Vulnerable GOP senator donates Hastert cash to charity

One of 2016’s most vulnerable senators is giving away $10,000 he received from former Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: Are you (October) surprised? New Dem ad uses Paterno, KKK, affair allegations to tar GOP leaders 10 dark horse candidates for Speaker of the House MORE (R-Ill.)

Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkThis week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill Trump attending Senate GOP lunch Tuesday High stakes as Trump heads to Hill MORE (R-Ill.) is donating the gift to the Family First Center of Lake County in Waukegan, Ill., according to The Chicago Sun-Times.

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Pastor John Caples, a member of the nonprofit’s board of directors, confirmed the contribution on Thursday, the publication added.

Caples said that Kirk’s office phoned his group that morning and said the Illinois lawmaker wanted “to redirect some funds.”

They would support after-school programs, he added.

The Sun-Times also said that Hastert’s donation was made to Kirk’s 2010 Senate campaign fund.

Hastert made the contribution through his Keep Our Mission PAC, it reported.

Kirk’s decision followed pressure from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) earlier that morning. Illinois is a reliably Democratic state in presidential election years.

The DSCC called on Kirk to relinquish the funds in light of Hastert’s indictment last Friday on charges of criminal misconduct.

“Mark Kirk should return or donate Denny Hastert’s money immediately,” said Sadie Weiner, DSCC national press secretary.

“Kirk has taken $10,000 from Denny Hastert who is just the latest Republican Speaker of the House to face serious charges about corruption and misconduct, and until Kirk returns the funds he is giving his tacit approval of these bad actions,” she added.

The DSCC additionally spotlighted Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) on Thursday for receiving their own donations from Hastert.

Federal Election Commission campaign finance records show that Hastert’s PAC gave $1,000 to Friends of Roy Blunt in 2013.

The Blunt PAC also received a total of $10,000 across two donations from Hastert’s PAC during the 2010 election cycle.

Boozman, meanwhile, got $5,000 during his own 2010 Senate race.

The Department of Justice indicted Hastert on Friday for allegedly lying to the FBI about some of his financial transactions.

It also charged him with making illegally structured payments to an “Individual A” in order to compensate for “past misconduct.”

Law enforcement officials speaking to various newspapers said the past misconduct had been sexual, and that it involved a male student of Hastert’s. Hastert is a former high school teacher and wrestling coach.

No sexual misconduct charges have been filed against the former Speaker.

Hastert has declined comment on the charges.