The depths of lawmakers’ ties to Abramoff vary widely. Investigations are thought to touch about 20 members of Congress, according to news reports. That’s a large number, but a small fraction of everyone who received contributions connected to Abramoff. Ryun, R‑Topeka, was the only member of the Kansas delegation other than Brownback to receive a financial contribution from Abramoff, for $250 in 1996. He’s not giving the money back, according to spokesman Nick Reid, who says that the contribution was legal.
Tiahrt is giving $5,440 raised by Abramoff to charity, Brownback is giving $44,500 back to Native American charities.
Abramoff gave money to buy influence. Every dollar he gave is tainted with that. Every dollar he gave to Bush, to Brownback, to the RNC, to DeLay (who resigned as majority leader), to Roy Blunt, Bob Ney, and other people, all tainted.
Rep. Ryun’s decision to keep this dirty money says something about him, and it isn’t something good. Our leaders should aspire to do more than be within the law, they should try to show some personal standards. Undoubtedly the contribution was legal, but we deserve better than that.