The feud between the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Crossroads GPS intensified Friday morning when the DCCC lashed out at the conservative outside group for backing embattled Florida Rep. David Rivera (R).
“If Karl Rove and his American Crossroads special interest funders want to rush to the defense of Representative David Rivera that’s up to them but voters should be concerned that a group like Rove’s is ignoring Rivera’s rap sheet and misdeeds,” DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said. “If this shadowy special interest funded group wants to come to the rescue of someone like David Rivera than it tells us all we need to know about the kind of candidates they’ll chose to defend.”
The criticism was in response to Crossroads' decision to launch a $90,000 issue ad campaign in 19 Congressional districts Thursday, including Rivera’s 25th district.
The campaign, described by Crossroads as “real buys” in response to the DCCC’s modest buys in those same districts earlier in the week, sent the message that “these new Members of Congress are working to clean up the mess,” according to Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio.
It’s clear, however, that Rivera is struggling to clean up a very different mess. The Associated Press last week reported that the freshman lawmaker, already facing a state criminal investigation of his finances, paid himself more than $60,000 in unexplained campaign reimbursements during his time in the state Legislature.
When reached Friday morning, Collegio was unapologetic for including Rivera among the freshmen his organization supported.
“The sad truth is that Democrat leaders and their Washington lobbyist allies are already doing everything in their power to stop any spending reductions or fiscal restraint in Washington — we saw it in the DCCC’s ads, and in the meetings Democrat leaders are having with pro-spending lobbyists in Washington,” he said. “The DCCC plainly isn’t interested in fiscal responsibility, they’re instead interested in negative campaigns and attack ads.”
Crossroads GPS and its partner organization, American Crossroads, were among the biggest outside spenders in the midterm elections, devoting roughly $70 million to help Republican candidates. The early back-and-forth with the DCCC signifies that the group, which does not have to disclose its donors, is more than willing to play an active role in the 2012 cycle that would have previously been filled by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is currently $10.5 million in debt.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.