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Shalala Rescinds Donation to Anti-Israel Dem House Candidate

Former representative Donna Shalala (D., Fla.) / Getty Images
• November 5, 2021 4:50 pm

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Update Nov. 8, 11:50 a.m.: This story initially stated that Shalala's PAC rescinded the donation last week, after the Free Beacon reported on the contribution. The PAC clarified that it asked for the refund in October.

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Former Clinton health secretary and congresswoman Donna Shalala (D., Fla.) this week said she rescinded a $2,800 donation to unsuccessful Democratic House candidate Omari Hardy (Fla.) due to his support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Shalala's political action committee, Donna Democrats, in May made the contribution to Hardy, the Free Beacon reported Wednesday. Hardy on Tuesday lost the Democratic primary in Florida's 20th Congressional District.

The Donna Democrats PAC asked Hardy to refund the donation after it learned about his anti-Israel positions last month, Shalala's former deputy chief of staff Raul Martinez Jr. said in an email on Friday.

"After reading the story of Mr. Hardy's position on BDS and Iron Dome, Donna Democrats sent [Hardy] an email asking for the donation to be returned," said Martinez. "In the email I explained that Rep. Shalala and Donna Democrats cannot support candidates with that position."

Martinez said the donation "was promptly returned the following day" and "will be visible on our next report."

Hardy came out in support of BDS during his campaign, calling it "the only option Palestinians have to draw attention to their plight and to change the behavior of Israel's military and political leaders." He also said he would have opposed a bill to provide additional funding for Israel's Iron Dome.

While Hardy was endorsed by the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, his statements drew criticism from the Florida Democratic Party Jewish Caucus and other Florida Democratic leaders.

Hardy garnered just 5.9 percent of the vote in Florida's 20th Congressional District, where the primary has moved to a recount between the two leading Democrats, Dale Holness and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick. The eventual Democratic nominee is expected to win the general election in the heavily blue district.

Hardy's defeat was a blow to anti-Israel progressives who have been gaining influence within the Democratic Party and who in September successfully pushed Democratic House leaders to remove Iron Dome funding from a spending bill.