Over the last decade, Stanford has spent more than $7 million on lobbyists and campaign contributions to Washington politics in both parties, although the vast majority of the money has gone to Democrats.
A total of $1.56 million was given to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets.org. Republicans received $840,000. Stanford also hired big-name lobby firms like DLA Piper and Parry, Romani and DeConcini.
Following a Good Morning America report by Brian Ross on Wednesday, many embarrassed members of Congress who received Stanford contributions tried to distance themselves from the scandal and vowed to turn the money over to charity.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) was the single biggest recipient of Stanford contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He received $47,000 from Stanford.
"I've instructed my staff to return every Penny," Nelson said Wednesday. Any donations from Stanford or his employees with be given to charity, he said.
Arizona Republican Senator John McCain got $28,000, while New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer got $17,000. Both said they would give the money to charity.
Federal authorities say they do not know the current whereabouts of the Texas financier, who is accused of cheating 50,000 customers out of $8 billion dollars. His financial empire in Houston, Memphis, and Tupelo, Miss., were raided Tuesday.
The Securities Exchange Commission alleges Stanford ran a fraud promising investors impossible returns, much like Bernard Madoff's $50 billion alleged Ponzi scheme.
Investigators Tuesday shut down and froze the assets of three of the companies Stanford controls and they say the case could grow to be as big as the Madoff scandal. Like Madoff's clients, Stanford's investors are in shock.
"Initially we put our money in this institution and in a CD because we were nervous about the markets and thought it was a safe place," said investor Brett Zagone. "I'm so upset right now I can't even talk about it."