GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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March 6, 2014

Dem challenger Moulton gets, refunds GOP PAC money

Democratic congressional candidate Seth Moulton accepted a contribution from a Republican leaning political action committee out of New Hampshire last September — and Moulton himself once contributed to a right-wing candidate in Kentucky, a campaign representative has acknowledged.

But Moulton, who is challenging nine-term Democratic Congressman John Tierney for the 6th District seat in this September’s primary, said Wednesday that his campaign refunded the $1,000 donation to the GOP-focused White Mountain PAC, and said he was surprised to get the group’s check in the first place.

“The contribution came in — we get hundreds of contributions all the time — but we returned it and did a refund of the money,” Moulton told the Times Wednesday.

The White Mountain PAC, based out of Rye Beach, donated the $1,000 to Moulton’s campaign on Sept. 19, making him the only Democrat among the 10 candidates to whom it sent funds last year, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Other recipients of White Mountain money included Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and candidates from Wyoming, Idaho and Texas. In previous years, the leadership PAC has been associated with former New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, and supported Mitt Romney’s bid for president and Scott Brown’s campaign for the Senate.

Carrie Rankin, Moulton’s communications director, said the Moulton for Congress Committee wrote a check back to White Mountain refunding the full amount, though apparently not until Feb. 15, nearly five months after the donation was received.

“We initially processed the check, but after reviewing contributions, we recognized White Mountain as a Republican PAC and returned the donation,” Rankin said in an email.

Moulton said he was surprised by the White Mountain PAC contribution, and emphasized he had not, in any way, solicited it.

“I can’t pretend to understand the motives of the PAC,” he said. Asked if he saw the White Mountain gift as a means to undercut Tierney and clear a path for Tisei, Moulton said that “wouldn’t make sense.”

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