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Francine Busby, who’s running against Rep. Brian Bilbray in California’s 50th Congressional District, is calling on the congressman to unload thousands of dollars in contributions he received several years ago from disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla.

Foley resigned his seat in the House on Friday after ABC News confronted him with electronic messages, some sexually explicit, that he alleged sent to several underage males who worked as House pages.

Bilbray received $1,000 from a political action committee controlled by Foley in 1998 and another $2,000 in 2000 while running against Susan Davis for Congress, according to Opensecrets.org, a campaign finance web site.

Although it appears Foley’s contributions were made well before his correspondence came to light, Busby issued a press release today calling on Bilbray to give the funds to charity.

Busby also called on Bilbray to join her as part of a growing chorus demanding that House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., resign his leadership post.

According to the Washington Post, Hastert was made aware of Foley’s correspondence last year but failed to take action. Hastert has denied having knowledge of the messages that early.

Bilbray’s campaign spokeswoman, Jennifer Jacobs, said she was unaware of the contributions from Foley and would look into the matter. Jacobs said she wouldn’t respond to Busby’s comments regarding Hastert.

In other campaign news, Jacobs said Bilbray won’t accept Busby’s challenge that the two engage in at least six debates before the Nov. 7 election.

Earlier this month, Bilbray said that he would debate Busby “as long as she agrees the debates can be done in English.” But Jacobs said today that Bilbray will not participate in several English-language debates sponsored by local organizations and government groups, including the AARP and the Clairemont Town Council.

However, Jacobs said Bilbray would debate Busby in a forum broadcast by a local radio or television network.

“It is important for us to debate, we just want to do it in a forum where the most amount of people can participate,” Jacobs said. Bilbray’s campaign isn’t actively working to arrange such a debate but would like the opportunity, she said.

DANIEL STRUMPF

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