Republican campaign group tweaks websites, makes them less misleading
February 16th, 2014
08:14 PM ET
9 years 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:

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. Charles

    Does this surprise anyone? Total liars and criminals.

    February 16, 2014 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  2. Tony

    Oh great, now Republicans can boast that they are less misleading than before.

    February 16, 2014 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  3. Quixote

    There really is no depth to which republicons will not sink. If they were running such websites i sure hope DoJ is looking at fraud charges.

    February 16, 2014 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  4. Kris

    Yo GOP...desperate much ?

    February 16, 2014 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  5. Intrigue

    Republicans can't win on the issues and they know it, so now they must use deception. The party will be dead within 10 years.

    February 16, 2014 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  6. Anton


    Nothing more than liars and cheaters...

    February 16, 2014 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  7. tony

    Who's a thought that the 2nd Amendment will most likely be needed to overthrow a Koch-GOP falsely elected government.

    February 16, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  8. john neighbours

    It's a shame when patently dishonest political 'messages' become the *new benchmark* of American political practices. One can only consider the source . . . and react accordingly. Perhaps labeled 'sophomoric' when employed on a high school level, it is neither 'cute' nor 'acceptable' for the America I fought for.

    February 16, 2014 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  9. Kyle Jones

    This is still blatant cybersquatting.

    February 16, 2014 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  10. dlwech

    When the best you can do is to advocate for the defeat of someone from another party – without a candidate to support of your own... that is pretty pathetic.

    February 16, 2014 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  11. sanity

    Really is a shame that Democrats are so easily fooled.

    February 16, 2014 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  12. llmb

    So the only way the Republicans can get donations is to pretend they are Democrats.

    February 16, 2014 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  13. LOL

    GOP Thieves, what else is new

    February 16, 2014 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  14. MV

    More shameless dishonesty from what was once a great American political party and is now a paid lobbying firm for Wall St.

    February 16, 2014 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  15. Charles

    If you can't win on your record, CHEAT, CHEAT, CHEAT.

    February 16, 2014 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  16. Ron

    Was the IRS involved?

    February 16, 2014 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  17. Biff McGuzzle

    Typical RNC operating procedure these days. If you can't beat 'em at the polls, rig the playing field.

    February 16, 2014 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  18. Im Not Crazy You Are

    Typical, does this type of behavior from republicans surprise anyone with an IQ above 1

    February 16, 2014 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  19. technophile50

    "less misleading" As opposed to honest, or truthful – sounds like that's the best we can expect from Republicans – less obstructive, less dedicated to making Obama fail, less bigoted, less homophobic, fewer symbolic votes against Obamacare(or as I like to call it, Romneycare 2.0) – not any real change.

    February 16, 2014 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  20. Independent_me

    What a bunch of lying, cheating, immoral hypocrites Rethuglicans are!!!
    They are also the only Party that continually commits voter fraud and they have more adulterers in their ranks than the Democrats...yet they are always preaching morality, flag and love of country. They make me sick! How come they aren't being hauled before a judge for this fraud??

    February 16, 2014 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  21. Richard Mitchell

    The Republican Party has nothing to offer the American people, therefore they fall back on political tricks and mudslinging.

    February 16, 2014 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  22. whodathunk31

    GOP are a bunch of scumbags

    February 16, 2014 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  23. BeverlyNC

    Caught cheating to win again. Republicans are so desperate they will do any and every unethical and even illegal thing to try to keep voters from voting and their candidates from being exposed for their extremism and corporate-owned agenda.
    Enough of Republicans destroying our rights to cling to power only to serve corporations who hurt the People. Vote out every single Republican from every local, state, and national seat. Let's take back our government and stand up for our rights and what we want done.
    VOTE in November. It does matter and it will mean the difference between nothing continuing to be done for us by Republicans or a whole line of laws Democrats have worked on and tried to pass for us for 6 years. Jobs, Job Training, Securing Social Security and Medicare, Infrastructure that brings many jobs but gives us not only repaired roads and buildings but new energy, new mass transit, safer and more reliable power grids and education which all of children and even adults need to be ready for this global economy and the job skills it requires. It brings people out of poverty. Programs of common sense mixed with values take all of us forward. It can happen if we get the Republican obstructers out of the way and out of office. VOTE.

    February 16, 2014 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  24. whodathunk31

    And Republicans wonder why they are despised?

    February 16, 2014 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  25. ksb

    NRCC motto: New and improved: We now lie a little bit less than we used to (before we were caught).

    This is the party that wants to teach the rest of us about MORALITY????

    February 16, 2014 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
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