The Republican Jewish Coalition has called on Democrat Bob Casey, who continually leads Sen. Rick Santorum in poll after poll, to return nearly $170,000 in campaign contributions that the liberal-interest group MoveOn.org has reportedly "bundled" to the challenger.
While 527 groups like MoveOn.org and the Club for Growth are prohibited by campaign-finance law from giving directly to a candidate, the practice of bundling occurs when a 527 group directs a number of its members to contribute directly to a particular candidate.
Back on Aug. 31, the Anti-Defamation League addressed a letter to MoveOn.org, pointing out that a number of anti-Semitic phrases, including "media-owning Jewish Pigs," "Jew Liebermann" and "Zionazis" had been posted on the MoveOn Web-site public forum, where anyone can relay a comment.
The sayings had been discovered and removed Aug. 16, according to Jennifer Lindenaur, a MoveOn spokeswoman.
Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, was far from satisfied, and has called on Casey's campaign to return all of the MoveOn money.
"I think it says something about Casey," said Brooks. "It says that he feels comfortable taking money from an organization where this kind of horrible anti-Semitic rhetoric has been allowed to permeate."
Lindenaur retorted that much of MoveOn's leadership is Jewish, and that the group responded to the situation as quickly as it could.
On the other side of the aisle, the Patriot Project — a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit group — called attention to the 527 group Softer Voices, which Patriot Project claims exists solely to help U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) get re-elected by buying "attack" ads in Pennsylvania media.
Softer Voices Web site describes the group as a "Conservative issue advocacy organization representing citizens."
When asked if Casey planned to return money to MoveOn.org, his spokesman, Larry Smar, replied: "If Rick Santorum gives back the money Newt Gingrich raised for him at two events this week, and if he reimburses the right-wing conservatives at Softer Voices for running a million dollars in ads on his behalf, we'll think about it."
Virginia Davis, Santorum's spokeswoman said that "MoveOn is an organization so completely out of the mainstream … and for Bob Casey to not understand the importance of returning the money speaks directly to his poor character."