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LI Democrats dump past contributions from Rangel

Rep. Steve Israel Monday joined other Democrats dumping past contributions from the now disgraced Rep. Charles Rangel to deflect Republican criticism of having "tainted" campaign funds.

Israel (D-Huntington) will split $14,000 - the amount Rangel donated to him from 2000 to 2002 - between the Sayville VFW Post and the Suffolk County Police Veterans Association, said his spokeswoman Lindsay Hamilton. "Even though the congressional campaign has not accepted funds from Congressman Rangel since 2002, he wanted to remove any questions," she said.

Israel joins Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), who is giving $15,000 to veterans groups to match the Rangel donations from 2002 to 2004, said aide Jon Schneider.

Bishop will give it to a Fairfield St. James group that aims to build a Smithtown memorial and others, said Schneider.

Rangel had no ethics issues when he donated funds to Bishop, Schneider said. "The congressman holds himself to a high ethical standard, and said in light of events donating this money would be the best thing to do."

National and local Republicans are demanding Democrats give up Rangel campaign donations because they say it is "tainted" by ethics charges against the 20-term lawmaker.

Rangel stepped down as House Ways and Means Committee chair last week after the House Ethics Committee admonished him for taking corporate funds for travel. The committee is investigating other ethics charges against Rangel.


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