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The Journal Gazette

Monday, February 26, 2018 3:50 pm

Senate candidates donate to local groups

Two candidates for a U.S. Senate seat from Indiana say they have donated to Fort Wayne organizations pay they earned during the federal government shutdown in January.

Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly said in a statement that he spread the $940 salary he received during the 3-day shutdown among 10 food banks in Indiana, including the Fort Wayne-based Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana. Donnelly said he sent checks for $94 to each of the agencies.

U.S. Rep. Luke Messer said in a statement he donated his shutdown pay to Allen County Right to Life, which opposes abortion rights. Messer is among three candidates seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Donnelly in the Nov. 6 general election.

One of Messer's GOP rivals, U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, had said in January he planned to donate his shutdown pay to charities that support families of border patrol agents and law enforcement officers "who have died at the hands of illegal immigrants.”

The government shutdown occurred when federal funding ran out after the Senate failed to pass a stopgap spending bill. A temporary spending measure won approval after majority Republicans pledged to consider immigration legislation pushed by Democrats in the Senate.