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. Chris in VA

    Truly a sign of an irrelevant group desperately trying to cling to power. Integrity and honesty are foreign concepts to them.

    February 17, 2014 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  2. O'drama ya Mama

    This is legal because? Its no different then me tricking someone into giving me money to treat my "cancer" only for it to be spent on a new car.

    February 17, 2014 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  3. blue max

    the GOP sees nothing wrong with deceiving americans, and this story is more proof. Pure scum.

    February 17, 2014 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  4. Tony

    A photo of Obama and two women is shown because women and minorities are whom the GOP hope to defeat.

    February 17, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Too bad the Dems don't get more honest as well. They simply lie about EVERYTHING!

    February 17, 2014 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  6. Are you kidding me?

    There should be strict rules on the information displayed on social media websites. There should be oversight and fines levied for misleading voters. I think overall congress and the senate cannot police themselves. An independent group with judicial authority should created to fight this.

    February 17, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  7. Carly

    All we hear is how rotten to the core Democrats are but I do not recall Democrats practicing such obvious deception as the Republicans to extort contributions. No big surprise the Republicans would stoop this low though. After all, they brought us Glen Beck who would say anything just to win voters over but finally did admit he was wrong. What strange behavior for so-called "Christians".

    February 17, 2014 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  8. stupidity

    So rich Dem supporters can't figure out if a site is slandering their candidates or supporting them, unless its written in large font in front of their face? The information on these sites is clearly not in favor of these candidates, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize that " John Barrow is your typical say-and-do-anything-to-get-elected politician. His own hometown newspaper even called him two-faced and said that his approach was disingenuous condescension." (Johnbarrow2014 site) is clearly anti-Barrow

    Moronic, I don't feel bad at all for whatever idiot mistakenly donates.

    February 17, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. I am booksmarts

    Not the party of Ronald Regan but the party of Tricky Dick Nixon.

    February 17, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  10. AlbaMN

    So they are LESS misleading, but still misleading. This is how the Republican party lost me. It is no longer a stand up party, but a group to whom facts are now irrelevant and money & power are all that count.

    February 17, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Now they will lose. Republicans only win by lying.

    February 17, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  12. Chris

    This is the new strategy by republicans? Must be tough times.

    February 17, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. CommonSense

    Wow!!! How Low Can You Bombs Go, Republicans???....Talking about sore losers from presidential elections and other state elections to come because the majority of this country is not with you guys.....face it, America is changing like it or not....

    February 17, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Enough is Enough

    So this guy donated $1000 through a website but, apparently, didn't read it closely enough to understand what is was for! Talk about low information voters and having more money than brains.....and the left tries to say that those of us on the right are a little slow......

    February 17, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  15. rs

    Still fraud- tell you a lot about Republican values. Instead of becoming honorable politicos and ending such bunko tactics, they just make them slightly more legal.

    February 17, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. Tommy G

    Less misleading??? All of text clearly indicated it was against the candidate! It looks like most Democrat supporters are just totally illiterate imbeciles and only look at pictures before writing a check for $1,000. Absolutely amazing.

    I'm sure this same fool has been taken to the cleaners in one of the many Nigerian scams going around. No wonder Democrats win when their base is nothing more than an bunch of illiterate dummies and government dependents.

    February 17, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. Kinard

    Yes, give till you've driven yourselves into extinction. When the republicans win, you lose. It's that simple.

    February 17, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Rand Paul should demand that all money be returned to the contributors.

    February 17, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. rs

    The GOP has finally fallen to the level of Internet spam. You know the Nigerian Oil minister's "Good Morning Sir/Madam, I need to move 1 million US Dollars from an account....."

    February 17, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    “He’s trying to get his members to fight the smart fight,” Madden said, which is not the debt limit but Obamacare.
    -------------------------------------------------
    This was said in reference to Boehner.
    What remains to be seen is if Democrats will continue to cower and run away from one of the BEST things they managed to get accomplished for the benefit of everyone in this nation,health care reform.
    President Obama embraced his achievement, claimed the name Obamacare, stood by the fact that he delivered on his promise and he was RE-ELECTED.

    February 17, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. rs

    Tommy G

    Less misleading??? All of text clearly indicated it was against the candidate! It looks like most Democrat supporters are just totally illiterate imbeciles and only look at pictures before writing a check for $1,000. Absolutely amazing.

    I'm sure this same fool has been taken to the cleaners in one of the many Nigerian scams going around. No wonder Democrats win when their base is nothing more than an bunch of illiterate dummies and government dependents.
    ________________________
    Your opinion is a perfect reflection of Republican values- if you can fool or scam someone "way to go"! Make money anyway you can. What a revolting lack of morality- and probably very "Christian" too.

    February 17, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. wendel

    the republican party is no longer relevant in politics today. Until they get rid of the baggers and big money looney tunes they will continue to loose ground. Try helping the American people instead of tricking and lying to them .

    February 17, 2014 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    Enough is Enough

    So this guy donated $1000 through a website but, apparently, didn't read it closely enough to understand what is was for! Talk about low information voters and having more money than brains.....and the left tries to say that those of us on the right are a little slow......
    **********
    And yet you still condone lying. The Right is not slow, just ammoral.

    February 17, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. Jay

    Can anyone remind me who said "If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what."

    February 17, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. Name

    Less misleading is good. Honest i guess is too much to ask.

    February 17, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
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