POLITICS
10/29/2012 01:54 pm ET Updated Oct 29, 2012

Mitt Romney Gets Donation From Scandal-Plagued Scott DesJarlais

WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney's campaign may have removed from its website the endorsement of embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), but getting rid of the philandering physician's donation appears to be less of a priority.

DesJarlais' campaign was rocked earlier this month by revelations that he pressured his patient and mistress to get an abortion during DesJarlais' breakup with his wife in 2000.

The Republican presidential contender's campaign quietly took down links to comments in which Romney described DesJarlais as "a principled and independent conservative.”

But earlier this month, DesJarlais donated $2,000 to Romney, and the Romney campaign's efforts to distance itself from DesJarlais do not appear to include giving back the cash. A review of campaign spending in the most recent period found no refund issued to DesJarlais.

Romney's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The issue is especially thorny for Romney because he is trying to make up ground with women voters, and appearing to be accepting at all of DesJarlais and his admitted actions in the past could potentially be hurtful to the campaign.

Romney was also in a tough place last week as he tried to distance himself from comments made by Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who said pregnancies from rape were intended by God. Romney denounced the comment, but did not withdraw his endorsement of Mourdock.

Women in Tennessee, at least, don't seem pleased by news of DesJarlais' history. In the most recent reporting period, which covers when The Huffington Post first broke the story, DesJarlais raised a meager $30,000 from 33 reportable donations. Of those, just one came from a woman.

A second woman came forward over the weekend to talk about her affair with DesJarlais, putting his story back in the news.

DesJarlais insists he still has a double-digit lead on his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Eric Stewart.

Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.

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