Republican campaign group tweaks websites, makes them less misleading
February 16th, 2014
08:14 PM ET
8 months ago

Republican campaign group tweaks websites, makes them less misleading

Washington (CNN) – The National Republican group whose mission is to elect GOP House members has altered some of its misleading websites for 2014 congressional candidates, making it more clear that any contributions made through the sites will be going toward defeating Democrats, not supporting them.

CNN Special Investigations Correspondent Drew Griffin featured the National Republican Congressional Committee’s strategy earlier this month. At least 15 websites that appear to be official campaign sites for Democratic candidates are actually run by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The website changes come after Griffin interviewed one donor who thought he was contributing to Democratic Rep. John Barrow when he clicked a big, blue “donate” button on a site that looked like it was made by the Georgia congressman’s campaign. The URL read: johnbarrow2014.com.

Randy Frails, the donor, contributed $1,000 through the website, only to soon realize it was actually a site created to challenge Barrow. He didn’t see the smaller print that stated the money would go toward defeating the Democratic incumbent or the tiny disclosure at the bottom that the website was paid for by the NRCC.

The original contribution page from the NRCC's John Barrow website. (Screen shot of Drew Griffin's report)

The original contribution page from the NRCC's John Barrow website. (Screen shot of Drew Griffin's report)

Frails was able to get his money back, but the John Barrow website is one of many that uses the image of the candidate in a positive light, not the kind of image seen in attack ads. It appears at first glance to be supportive of the candidate.

The copy on the page reads like a negative ad and quickly proves that the website is not affiliated with the candidate: “Georgia families know John Barrow is not fighting for them in Washington.” NRCC spokesman Daniel Scarpinato defended the websites earlier this month, saying the “sites are clear in terms of the disclosure and the content where we're coming from.”

The home page portion of these websites still remains online, including the disclosure, but the contribution page has changed.

For example, the big “donate” button on the John Barrow website takes donors to a new page, one that looks distinctly different from the John Barrow website and explicitly states the NRCC’s name at the top.

“The National Republican Congressional Committee exists to defeat House Democrats. Chip in today to help increase the Conservative Majority in the House,” the page reads.

Here’s an example of the old shot of a contribution page for Democratic candidate Alex Sink in Florida. The donate button now takes donors to the new page.

Scarpinato confirmed Sunday the group had changed the donation portal on the websites.

"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,” he said in an e-mail.

A photo of President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius - who are all smiling - is also displayed at the top of the new contribution page.


Filed under: 2014 • Ads • NRCC
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    If you take deception and lies out of the Republican Party, all you have is years of failure and no accomplishments.

    February 16, 2014 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    When is the GOP party of STUPID going to figure out they have 0 credibility on ANY issue because of their constant lies and misleading statements on healthcare and EVERYTHING ELSE . Maybe they will figure it out after the GOP LOSES the HOUSE in November !!!!!!

    February 16, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  3. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP has to start with the 0 credibility that they NOW have with the majority of American voters while they consecrate on PLEASING the MINORITY teaparty clowns that DONT COUNT , but what else would you expect from the GOP party of STUPID. The GOP will find out that HIDING BEHIND obamacare is a LOSER!!!!!!!

    February 16, 2014 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  4. The REAL TRUTH...

    Seem like the RNC is up to the usual set of rw dirty tricks... buyer beware folks.

    February 16, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  5. Name

    Just another reason to never believe or trust the gop

    February 16, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  6. Tom

    Well, that's a new high in sleazy tactics.

    February 16, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  7. Alan S.

    That the whole problem with the GOP has been deception and lies from the start. These new Republican Lawmakers are sociopaths, their only concern is to stuff as money as they can into their PACS (that should be illegal) and the American people are the last things on their greedy minds.

    February 16, 2014 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  8. Scott

    Shame on Republicans for acting unethical. All the donations should be returned to whoever gave money.

    February 16, 2014 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  9. HenryB

    What gives with this juvenile behavior? This is the silliest thing I have seen. This is not even a malicious attempt at anything; it is just dumb.

    February 16, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  10. jsl123

    RNC is misleading by nature!

    February 16, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  11. Tom in Millstadt

    Republican ads that feature lies, deception and subterfuge and you're surprised??

    My spelling sucked on the initial post. My bad.

    February 16, 2014 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  12. Larry L

    Gerrymandering, vote suppression, "birthers", blatant distortions of reality, obstructionism, extremism, hostage-taking, bigotry, sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, fake political surveys, and now fake websites. The Republican Party's actions define the people who are now calling themselves conservatives.

    February 16, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    failure of technology doesn't seem to be unique to be unique to healthcare.gov after all!!!

    February 16, 2014 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  14. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP tea clowns are just plain dishonest !!!!!

    February 16, 2014 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  15. B

    Republican campaign group tweaks websites, makes them less misleading

    February 16, 2014 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  16. will

    Ehen you cant win fairly, CHEAT......GOP Motto!

    February 16, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  17. cneder

    Great websites. Not hardly as misleading as CNN. Sheesh!

    February 16, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  18. DJ

    What else do you expect from the party that brought us the Watergate mess among others.

    February 16, 2014 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  19. Bubba

    "Republican campaign group tweaks websites, makes them less misleading" readily translates to "GOP Removes Giant Lies from Website and Replaces Them with Smaller Lies".
    Such predictable behavior from America's Morality Police.

    February 16, 2014 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  20. VJ

    GOP is at record low.....

    February 16, 2014 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  21. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    "Less misleading"? They are still dishonest, right wing hucksters who do not deserve your vote.

    February 16, 2014 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  22. PeriSoft

    If this is the best way they can think of to get their message out, they need to be worrying about incompetence as much as about sleaziness. Whether or not you have to be clueless to be suckered into donating is beside the point: preying on the stupid does not make fraud honorable or clever.

    February 16, 2014 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  23. woodie

    The Republican's are great liars. I'll hand them that.

    February 16, 2014 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  24. Steve - Texas

    Why cant they actually come up with an idea... instead of just being against everything... What happened to the GOP.

    February 16, 2014 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  25. abnguy

    Ironic, this is behavior I would expect from the Democrats.

    February 16, 2014 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
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