Elizabeth Warren, others in awkward position over questionable campaign contributions

by Ryan Smith31 Oct 2016
Sen. Elizabeth Warren and many other Democratic lawmakers are in an awkward position after revelations that they received thousands of dollars in questionable campaign contributions from a Boston law firm.

The Thornton Law Firm is accused of paying “questionable” bonuses to partners who made political contributions, according to a USA Today report. Top attorneys from the firm contributed nearly $1.6 million to Democratic groups and politicians between 2010 and 2014, according to the report. During the same timeframe, firm lawyers received $1.4 million in bonuses. More than 280 political contributions matched the bonus amounts, according to a Boston Globe report.

Overall, the firm gave more than $3.4 million across the 2010, 2012 and 2014 election cycles.

That included tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and President Obama. Even South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham saw contributions flow his way, USA Today reported.

There’s no indication that the politicians who benefitted knew about the questionable bonuses, according to the Globe report. But the contributions put them in an awkward position. Several current Democratic candidates are either returning or donating contributions received from the firm, according to USA Today.

Wisconsin Senate candidate Russ Feingold said he would return $45,000, and New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is running for a Senate seat, will give back $51,000, according to USA Today.

“There’s no tolerance from my campaign or me for anything that would even skirt the possibility of being inappropriate,” Feingold said. “The only thing to do is take the action we took because we won’t tolerate anything of that kind.

“We had no idea about the practices inside this firm, and we assume that, as the Globe reported, none of the other Republican or Democratic candidates who received contributions knew either,” Hassan spokesman Aaron Jacobs told USA Today. “We will be returning the contributions from this firm.”


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