Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) in 2004 collected more than $24,000 from a financial firm since revealed to be part of a massive, billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, federal election data shows.

The contributions came from Stanford Financial -- run by indicted financier Allen Stanford -- and together comprised the second-largest contribution from any firm to Sessions' campaign that year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, citing official Federal Election Commission reports.

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Neither Sessions' spokesperson nor the NRCC was available for comment on those donations Wednesday afternoon. Democratic strategists, however, mobilized in an attempt to capitalize on Sessions' silence, seeking to further pair the congressman with his now-disgraced donor.

"After fighting all year long to protect and defend Wall Street at the expense of main street, it come as no surprise that Representative Sessions still ‘loves’ one of his biggest Wall Street patrons, even after he was arrested for running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme" said Jesse Ferguson, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

"Rep. Sessions may 'love and believe' in this Madoff-esque swindler, but the small business owners across this country wish the Republican leadership would start believing in them, instead," Ferguson added.

The flurry of news about Sessions' relationship with Stanford arrives just as the Justice Department is launching its probe to determine whether Stanford's contributions helped him curry special treatment from other lawmakers.

At the same time, the political chattering class remains abuzz about a recently unearthed e-mail exchange between Sessions, the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, and Stanford, who learned that very day which charges federal prosecutors would levy against him.

In the message, the congressman tells Sanford, "I love you and believe in you." Initially, Sessions' spokeswoman doubted the authenticity of the e-mail, but she has since reiterated Sessions' hope Stanford would be brought to justice

"While the referenced email cannot be authenticated, Congressman Sessions believes that its contents resemble language he would use to communicate with a person in crisis to encourage right decisions and prevent further tragedy," Press Secretary Emily Davis said.

"With that being said, the Congressman maintains the position that Mr. Stanford should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," she added.