Election committees associated with 37 current and former lawmakers have contributed a total of $280,000 to the legal defense fund for Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), according to disclosures filed with the secretary of the senate.
The reports show a deep commitment from lawmakers to their embattled colleague, who the Department of Justice investigated for stock sales before closing the matter without filing charges in January.
The support wasn’t just limited to Republicans. West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, Arizona’s Krysten Sinema and Virginia’s Mark Warner all chipped in a few thousand bucks. A PAC affiliated with Maine’s Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, contributed $5,000. King also cut a personal check to Burr’s fund for another $5,000. And Erskine Bowles, Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff, handed over $5,000 to support his fellow North Carolinian.
Leadership PACs for 17 current Republican Senators each contributed $10,000. Forbes previously reported a dozen of those donations, including ones from Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), that were recorded in campaign filings. The new documents, which cover the first half of 2020, show additional contributions from PACs associated with Susan Collins (Maine), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Roger Wicker (Miss.) and former senator Lamar Alexander (Tenn.). The PAC of onetime House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also forked over $10,000. PACs associated with seven other Republicans gave smaller amounts.
“Every American is entitled to raise funds for their legal defense, and every American has a right to due process and the presumption of innocence,” said a spokesperson for Tillis’ campaign. “It was profoundly disappointing that some people motivated by partisan politics attempted to deny Senator Burr of his due process rights and wage a trial by media, even though a thorough and fair investigation ultimately cleared him.”
Spokespeople for the other lawmakers have not replied to inquiries.
As Forbes reported in January, “Burr was under investigation for selling off $628,000 and $1.72 million worth of stock in February , before the coronavirus tanked the market, prompting concerns he used non-public information to avoid the financial fallout from the virus.”
His defense fund has paid the law firm Latham & Watkins $490,000, according to the disclosures.
One of just seven Republicans who voted to remove Donald Trump from office earlier this year, Burr announced in 2016 that he wouldn’t seek re-election when his term expires in 2022.