With the revelations of what is going on involving disgraced fundraiser Jack Abramoff, there has been a rush of sorts, of politicians returning Abramoff's money. ('Return' is technically not a correct characterization, it is being donated to charity.)
Only, that seems to be the extent of it, Abramoff's money. For example, the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign (apparently they still have an office somewhere) gave back $6,000-- representing two checks for the legal limit on individual contributions ($2,000), written by Abramoff and his wife, and another $2,000 on behalf of one of the tribes that Abramoff bilked.) Other Washington congressmen and Senators caught up in the rapidly growing scandal have swiftly followed suit, returning or donating the money that Abramoff personally has donated to them.
Of course, this is a token donation, so they can claim to have returned Mr. Abramoff's money. Abramoff, for example, was named a Bush 'Pioneer,' for having raised $100,000 for the Bush-Cheney campaign, and in fact he earned that title during 2003, indicating that it is likely that he ended up raising quite a bit more than that. His fundraising prowess extended to members of Congress too. So the portion of the funds that came from his own personal bank account is relatively small (and for that matter, Abramoff himself gave only to Republican candidates and some special interests.) The real issue is that he raised quite a lot of money, with much of it coming from, as we have been blogging on a lot lately, questionable sources or was raised by questionable methods or under false pretenses.
With the revelations going on that so much money connected to Abramoff is tainted, it seems that these politicians have their eye on the bottom line. They want the cash, so they will keep it no matter how it was raised, and are only giving away that small part which Mr. Abramoff himself pitched in so they can sanctimoniously claim that they have come clean.