Under growing political pressure, House Republicans’ campaign arm has overhauled a series of controversial campaign websites that are designed to, at first glance, appear as if they support Democrats.
The National Republican Congressional Committee changed the donation page to make it clearer to potential contributors that their money wasn’t going to the smiling Democrats pictured but instead to the Republicans.
National Journal first reported in December that the websites’ deceptive designs could leave voters confused and also violate federal election rules. Since then, two news outlets have found donors who have been duped by the sites.
The NRCC has steadfastly defended the websites, even as Democrats complained more loudly in recent weeks. A Democratic group in New Jersey recently filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission.
Andrea Bozek, an NRCC spokeswoman, said in an email, “We recently updated our contribution pages, as we frequently do, to highlight our efforts to defeat House Democrats in 2014 and prevent Nancy Pelosi from ever being speaker of the House again.”
Even after the change, the home pages of the dozen-plus faux sites remain the same, with a URL (such as nickrahallforcongress.com) and big, bold headline (“Nick Rahall for Congress”) suggesting it is the Democrat’s official site. Below, the sites offer biting critiques and reasons to oppose the pictured Democrat.
Bozek remained unapologetic about the sites. “It’s no surprise that Democrats are nervous that the truth is finally getting out about their disastrous records, but despite their whining, we plan on continuing to showcase their support for Obamacare and other failed Washington policies straight through to Election Day.”
What We're Following See More »
"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."
Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."
NBC's Lester Holt hasn't hosted the "Nightly News" since Tuesday, as he's prepped for moderating the first presidential debate tonight—and the first of his career. He's called on a host of NBC talent to help him, namely NBC News and MSNBC chairman Andy Lack; NBC News president Deborah Turness; the news division's senior vice president of editorial, Janelle Rodriguez; "Nightly News" producer Sam Singal, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, senior political editor Mark Murray and political editor Carrie Dann. But during the debate itself, the only person in Holt's earpiece will be longtime debate producer Marty Slutsky.
"The House passed legislation late Thursday that would prohibit the federal government from making any cash payments to Iran, in protest of President Obama's recently discovered decision to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash in January. And while the White House has said Obama would veto the bill, 16 Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the measure, 254-163."
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”