Money IIU.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s reelection has become accident-prone when it comes to raising the millions of dollars needed to compete in the 2016 cycle.

His campaign comes into play this year with a paltry $1.2 million in his war chest, that’s poverty level for someone considered to be one of the party’s more successful fundraisers.

Protestors from his own party surrounded Bennet’s mega fundraising event in Denver last month. Even his media buddies in Washington are calling him a financial loser.

So it doesn’t help matters when one of Bennet’s key political action committee donors is indicted by the feds for a nasty variety of criminal acts and the national GOP demands that $10,000 donation be returned.

We’re speaking of soon-to-be-former Sen. Robert Menendez, who was indicted Wednesday on corruption charges that he granted political favors to a Florida doctor accused of the smarmiest of Medicare fraud and other vulgarities.

From the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC):

“It’s time for Senator Bennet to return the $10,000 donation he received from his indicted friend Senator Robert Menendez. Coloradans expect the highest ethical conduct from their representatives in Washington and Senator Bennet has clearly had a lapse in judgment when it comes to Senator Menendez.” – NRSC Spokesman Matt Connelly

In a nutshell, here’s what the Miami Herald says went wrong between Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, and his wealthy benefactor from Florida, eye doctor Salomon Melgen.

In a sprawling indictment filed in the 61-year-old senator’s home state, federal prosecutors say Menendez illegally peddled his political influence to help his pal with both business and personal concerns — in exchange for nearly $1 million in gifts and donations.

Topping the charges:

▪ The senator tried to resolve the West Palm Beach physician’s multimillion-dollar billing dispute with the federal Medicare program.

▪ He helped Melgen launch a port security business in his native Dominican Republic.

▪ He even supported visa applications for the doctor’s girlfriends from the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Ukraine.

In exchange, the former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is accused of accepting several private plane flights to a Caribbean resort, other gifts such as a luxury Paris hotel stay and a bounty of campaign donations, according to the indictment.

So essentially, dirty money from Menendez’s shady dealings found its way into Bennet’s campaign coffers. The NRSC is right, Bennet needs to return that check to sender, post haste.