Murphy Attacks Campaign Cash It's `Influence for Sale,' She Says, Assailing Wheat's Gambling Funds
Jo Mannies Post-Dispatch Political Correspondent, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Jackson County Executive Marsha Murphy proposed Thursday a series of campaign-finance restrictions for Congress, saying the situation there is "influence for sale."
Murphy also urged Rep. Alan Wheat, D-Kansas City, an opponent for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, to return tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from special interests - including gambling firms and tobacco companies.
USA Today recently described Wheat as one of the top congressional recipients of donations from gambling concerns.
Murphy also accused Wheat of mismanaging the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which he headed from 1990 to 1993, by allowing it to accept large contributions - including some from foreign sources - that "would be illegal for a congressman to accept."
For example, Murphy cited $155,000 from the tobacco industry, $120,000 from the military dictator in Nigeria and $56,350 from a government agency in Washington that provides low-income housing to the poor.
The last donation helped prompt a federal investigation into the housing agency, because it's illegal to use tax money for political purposes.
Such contributions to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation have touched off debate in Washington in recent years. Wheat's spokesman, Alex Sachs, said Thursday that the foundation had done nothing illegal nor had it acted any differently than any other foundations. …