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.”