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In the wake of Sen. Ted Stevens' indictment, his GOP colleagues quickly began distancing themselves from the stink by dumping campaign contributions Stevens had doled out through his PAC. Among those playing "Take Back the Money" were Mitch McConnell, Elizabeth Dole, and John McCain. We've seen this game before, when politicians scrambled to rid themselves of donations from Enron and Jack Abramoff. Indeed, Dole has now won the Tainted Money Triple Crown, having divested herself of money from all three. The beauty of this D.C. dance is that it is always accompanied by insistent claims that political contributions have absolutely no impact. But no one ever explains why, if the money doesn't buy influence, there is such a rush to return it. Perhaps the answer can be found on Stevens' Bridge to Nowhere.

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