Steven Alembik, a Florida Republican activist and donor who once referred to former President Barack Obama as a “Muslim N—” on Twitter, contributed $5,400, the maximum amount, to Claudia Tenney’s campaign, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. Alembik’s racist comment came under fire recently when his ties to Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis were revealed.
“Time after time, it has been revealed that Tenney took money from donors with sordid reputations. She should be ashamed that this keeps happening,” said Ellen Foster, campaign manager for Anthony Brindisi. “These comments have no place in our politics. She should return this money. Other campaigns have done so, which makes her reluctance all the more troubling.”
Tenney’s ties to Alembik extend past the contribution. According to a new report, Alembik invited Tenney to a February event he organized at Mar-a-Lago called the Truth About Israel Gala. In addition, FEC reports show that Alembik’s contribution to Tenney’s campaign is the most he gave to any Congressional candidate this year.
While Tenney recently admitted that voters “have a right” to look at her donors and that “the media has to look at donors,” she has yet to distance herself from Alembik, even as other campaigns that Alembik has donated to have denounced his comments. The DeSantis campaign said they “adamantly denounce this sort of disgusting rhetoric.” Gov. Rick Scott’s Senate campaign, which had received $1,000 from Alembik, announced they were donating the funds to a local hospital and called the comments “disgusting.”
Tenney’s relationship with Alembik follows an alarming pattern in her campaign contributions. She has an extensive history of taking money from donors with criminal histories and corruption scandals. She took over $20,000 from Richard Uihlein who funded the Roy Moore Campaign. She refused to return the $1,000 donation from disgraced Congressman Pat Meehan, who used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint from a former female staffer. She took $5,000 from Adam Kidan, a former associate of Jack Abramoff who pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy. And she refused to return the $3,000 she received from Rep. Chris Collins, who was recently indicted on charges of insider trading.