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O’Malley sheds tainted Thompson funds

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Looking to wipe his campaign clean of tainted money, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has donated $38,000 in campaign funds he received from Jeffrey E. Thompson, his businesses and other associates, a spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

The donations were made to the Maryland Veterans Trust Fund and delivered Tuesday, said Mr. O'Malley's spokesman, Rick Abbruzzese.

"The contributions were not made illegally to Martin O'Malley, but given what we now know about the shadow campaign in D.C., the governor made the decision to donate the money," Mr. Abbruzzese said.

A list of the exact donations that were given away was not immediately available, but the spokesman said all donations made directly by Mr. Thompson or any of his businesses were given away.

"We were contemplating this when the guilty plea took place, and it was obvious Jeff Thompson was involved in it," Mr. Abbruzzese said, referring to the guilty plea of Mr. Thompson's associate Eugenia C. Harris earlier this month.

Harris admitted that she funneled more than $650,000 in undocumented campaign funds through her companies and culled "straw donors" who contributed to D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray's campaign in their names but were reimbursed for their donations. Mr. Thompson, a well-known accountant and prolific political contributor, is widely believed to be the source of the campaign funding.

Mr. O'Malley took in tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Mr. Thompson's network on a single day in 2010 while in the midst of a re-election bid against Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

An analysis of campaign-finance records by The Washington Times concluded that at least $74,200 out of the approximately $98,000 in donations that Mr. O'Malley collected on that day came from Mr. Thompson's co-workers, associates and affiliated companies.

"It's not uncommon for the governor to make these types of contributions on behalf of the campaign when we realize there was some type of wrongdoing on the behalf of the contributor," Mr. Abbruzzese said.

Word that Mr. O'Malley is returning campaign money that came from the Thompson network comes a day after Politico first reported President Obama returned funding that his presidential campaign had received.

No one at the Maryland Veterans Trust Fund could be reached immediately to confirm the receipt of the donations, which Mr. Abbruzzese said were made anonymously.

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