Stevens Opponent Returns Rangel Cash

From Politico's Martin Kady II:

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' opponent Mark Begich is giving a $10,000 contribution from Charlie Rangel's PAC to charity — the first (but not necessarily last) Democrat to distance himself from the embattled Ways and Means chairman.

The Anchorage mayor, who is playing the ethics card big-time against the indicted Stevens, needed to free himself from questions about his relationship with Rangel that were raised by the Alaska state GOP.

His press secretary, not Begich himself, is quoted in the press release:

"The move is in line with the Begich campaign’s practice, and that of the McCain/Palin ticket, of donating contributions to charity from politicians who are facing ethical or criminal charges."

“Recognizing the importance of keeping corruption out of Alaska politics, our campaign is donating Rep. Rangel’s contribution to a very worthy charity,” said Julie Hasquet, Begich campaign press secretary. “The money from Rep. Rangel’s political action committee was donated in June and we’ve since learned more about the allegations against him and realized it would be best to not keep the money.”

The cash is going to the Armed Forces YMCA.

Interesting to see if this opens up the floodgates on Rangel refunds or if it's a one-off for a guy who needs the freedom to throw ethics punches.