House Democrats Attack Republicans — On Ethics

Weiner photoConstituents of six House Republicans can expect to receive an automated phone call from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) informing them of their representative’s allegedly unethical practices. But DCCC’s accusations follow in the wake of many Democratic mishaps including the scandals involving ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner and Rep. Maxine Waters.

Out of the six representatives under fire, four of them are new to the House. The congressmen include : Charlie Bass (N.H.), Vern Buchanan (Fla.), Stephen Fincher (Tenn.), Frank Guinta (N.H.), David Rivera (Fla.) and Scott Tipton (Colo.).

In a statement released by the DCCC, Spokesman Jesse Ferguson claims GOP Representatives will be targeted:

House Republicans have been caught in various ethics scandals ranging from public corruption to finance violations to misuse of public funds. House Republican leaders pledged a zero tolerance policy to ethics problems in their Conference but their answer has been to turn a blind eye.

Calls to Bass’ district accuse the congressman of lobbying on behalf of his nephew to receive tax credits.

Voters of Buchanan will be informed of his alleged wrongfully obtained campaign donations through a car dealership he once owned.

Fincher’s district is targeted for reportedly not disclosing loans from a bank where his father was a board member.

Guinta’s automated call raises questions regarding his campaign finances.

Rivera has had issues with ethics practices for a long time. He was first accused of driving an opponent’s truck off the road during a campaign. Now the DCCC is claiming that he received secret payments from his mother’s company.

The DCCC accuses Tipton of using taxpayer dollars to hire a company his nephew owns and daughter works for.

All of the calls end with a request to contact the congressman and complain about his ethics practices.

“The DCCC is trying to draw attention away from its own ethically challenged caucus,” said John Randall, campaign director of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “I think they are distracting from real problems that have only been exacerbated by the Democrats, like the 9.2 percent unemployment rate.”

John Samples, Director of the Center for Representative Government at Cato Institute, thinks there is potential for the DCCC’s actions to become an issue. “It could be risky to call out the Republicans, but they [DCCC] could have decided to go on the attack to take away from other issues, which is what I think they did,” he said. “This could be a vaccine against their own ethical problems, but if they’re trying to define Republicans based on the issues pointed out, then it might be problematic.”

The calls are a part of the DCCC’s “Drive for 25” campaign to win the House. However Susan Tolchin, University Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University, doesn’t think these calls will sway House election.

“I don’t think this will have an affect on the next election because people are much more concerned with their pocket books than members of Congress’ ethical issues,” she said.

Kristen Byrne is NLPC’s Capitol Hill Reporter