[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/20/art.lincolnb.gi.jpg caption ="Sen. Blanche Lincoln will not return campaign donations from Goldman Sachs, she said Tuesday."](CNN) - Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas, said Tuesday she has no plans to return $4,500 in campaign contributions she has received from embattled Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs' political action committee or the company's employees.
"The point here is, the contribution didn't make any difference because I still produced one of the toughest reform bills that's been presented," Lincoln told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley in an interview on The Situation Room.
Lincoln has introduced legislation that she says would require 100 percent transparency in the derivatives market.
Lincoln faces a primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in this year's election. The Halter campaign wasted no time Tuesday responding to Lincoln's decision not to return the contributions.
"I am disappointed that Sen. Lincoln is choosing to keep contributions from Goldman Sachs – one of the very companies she is supposed to be regulating and who was charged last week with fraud," Halter said in a release. "Goldman Sachs was a key player in wrecking our economy and causing thousands of Arkansans to lose their jobs and their homes. It is wrong for Sen. Lincoln to continue to take contributions from the very companies she is supposed to be regulating."
But Lincoln said she is used to competitive races.
"I have to say, you know, I've always had tough races," she said in the CNN interview. "That's just by nature, whether it was my age or my gender. They've always been tough elections. But I think, by and large, Arkansans and Americans see through that."
Goldman Sachs is defending itself from civil fraud charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and has been an active donor to political candidates and parties in the past 20 years.