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Talent says he had concerns about Abrahoff from start

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Senator Jim Talent.

By Robert Frederick and Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Senator Jim Talent is one member of Congress who will not need to return campaign money to lobbyist Jack Abrahoff.

Abrahoff pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges of mail fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion.

Talent, a Republican from Missouri, says he thought Abrahoff was a con man from the beginning.

"When last spring the revelations broke that he had accepted millions and millions of dollars from Indian tribes, I said, Wait a minute, this guy's got to be crooked because nobody takes that amount of money legitimately,'" Talent said. "So we just, I think at the time I had a couple of thousand dollars four years ago and I returned that."

Other lawmakers, including U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt, pledged this week to donate to charity funds they received from Abrahoff or his clients.

Talent says the U.S. Justice Department has taken appropriate steps to deal with the ethics scandal.

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