NRCC Campaign Focuses on Rangel, Waters Cash

32 Democrats Targeted

Posted August 9, 2010 at 6:19pm

The National Republican Congressional Committee is calling voters today in 32 Democratic-held districts, targeting vulnerable Members who received campaign donations from Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who face ethics committee trials this fall.

The calls will be a mix of robocalls and patch-throughs, which automatically direct the listeners to their Representatives’ offices.

“Congressman Walt Minnick took $55,130 in campaign cash from Charlie Rangel, who is facing trial with the ethics committee for numerous alleged violations, including tax evasion and abusing taxpayer-funded resources,” an automated voice says in a call directed at the Idaho Democrat. “So far Congressman Minnick’s fellow Democrats have returned almost $640,000 in dirty campaign money from Rangel, yet Congressman Minnick refuses to return thousands of dollars in donations, and even voted twice to keep Rangel in charge of a powerful committee.”

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Ryan Rudominer said the calls are “a desperate move” to distract from Republicans’ own ethics record. Democrats note that the NRCC hasn’t returned the $150,000 in contributions from the Wyly brothers — Charles and Sam —who are accused of misleading investors and are being sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“In stark contrast to the Republicans Culture of Corruption and all these secret meetings in which [Minority Leader John] Boehner has had ‘conversations’ with his unethical members, House Democrats have created an ethics process that actually functions,” Rudominer said.

The NRCC would not divulge how much is being spent on the one-day hit — only that “thousands” of calls are being made. Other Democrats being targeted include Reps. Steve Driehaus (Ohio), Martin Heinrich (N.M), Steve Kagen (Wis.) and Dina Titus (Nev.).

Republicans say Democrats can expect the Rangel and Waters ethics issues to continue to come up in GOP campaigns through November. The calls follow press releases the committee distributed two weeks ago to local media detailing the amount of money each Member had received from Rangel and how much had been returned.

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct on Monday released an investigative subcommittee’s three formal charges of rules violations against Waters in preparation for an ethics trial this fall.

Rangel is facing 13 allegations, including issues with his financial disclosure forms, misusing his office to solicit funds for a City College of New York center named in his honor, failing to pay taxes on a Dominican Republic villa and accepting a rent-stabilized apartment for his campaign office.