But if you concede the PAC’s continued existence, you’re then forced to ask: How can the GOP candidates listed above defend taking its money? This is not a situation where letting bygones be bygones is even remotely appropriate.

This is the same General Motors whose government overseers in bankruptcy, fresh from ripping off disfavored secured creditors at Chrysler, performed a similar act on GM’s unsecured bondholdersreal flesh-and-blood people who have suffered tremendously.

This is the same General Motors that, as it was shafting creditors, gave the United Auto Workers a deal so sweet that union president Ron Gettelfinger openly bragged to his members that the union’s supposed “concessions” involved “no loss in your base hourly pay, no reduction in your health care, and no reduction in pensions.” UAW-GM retirees, who conveniently don’t get to vote on contracts, also got the shaft.

This is the same GM which, with White House help as it was keeping the UAW whole, “schemed with Big Labor bosses to preserve UAW members’ costly pension funds by shafting their nonunion counterparts” — including 20,000 former salaried employees at Delphi, who also “lost all of their health and life insurance benefits.”

This is the same General Motors whose government overseers, according to TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky, as reported by the New York Times, closed “scores of dealerships without adequately considering the jobs that would be lost or having a firm idea of the cost savings that would be achieved.” The jobs losses amounted to tens of thousands. Closure decisions appeared to have been based more on political and racial factors than valid economic considerations. Before the termination decisions were announced, GM’s minority-owned dealers fretted that almost 60% of them (roughly 174 of 300) would be shut down. As it worked out, both at Chrysler and GM, they were closed in virtually exact proportion to all other dealers. Amazing how that worked out, isn’t it?

I have seen no indication that GM and the administration have any intentions of retreating from their legalities-be-damned, consequences-be-damned outlook. And yet, we see the names and amounts listed above: Portman — $5,000; Blunt — $5,000; Coates — $5,000; and “Young Gun” (or is it “Young Blank”) Eric Cantor — $2,000.

Seriously, guys: How could you? Until you return the money, how can we ever believe anything you tell us about the capitalist, free-enterprise system and your support for the Constitution?

This sad episode should disabuse sensible conservatives of any notion they might have that they will be able ease up even a teeny-tiny bit if the fall elections result in GOP congressional and Senate majorities.