When crass fundraising takes a Grimm turn

Updated
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.)
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.)
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Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) announced just days ago that he would support President Obama’s call for military intervention in Syria. “We have to keep our word; this is about our credibility,” the New York Republican said last weekend. “We can’t permit a precedent where there is a use of chemical weapons and there is no response.”

Four days later, Grimm changed his mind, and announced yesterday he opposes the policy he’d previously endorsed.

I’ll leave it to others to speculate as to why, exactly, the congressman reversed course so quickly and completely, but Grimm appears to have tipped his hand a bit.

Rep. Michael Grimm, a New York Republican, is sending out fundraising emails based on his decision to switch from supporting President Obama’s Syria plan to opposing it.

Grimm’s campaign list sent out the fundraising call on Thursday with the subject line “Oppose Military Action in Syria.”

The fundraising appeal, sent within a few hours of Grimm’s newly announced position, asks donors, “Will you stand with me in opposing President Obama’s plan with a donation of $25 or more right now?” It adds, “Stand with me today with a donation of $25 or more to strongly oppose military action in Syria.”

Terri Lynn Land, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Michigan, yesterday tried to pull the same fundraising stunt.

To be sure, there are no laws or ethics rules prohibiting this sort of crass fundraising, and for all I know, there may well be prospective suckers donors out there who respond to these appeals.

But I like to think reasonable, fair-minded observers can agree that this is just cheap and ugly. In Grimm’s case, we have an elected member of the U.S. Congress telling constituents and supports (1) Syria used chemical weapons to slaughter civilians; (2) the U.S. is weighing a military response; (3) Grimm flip-flopped over the course of a few days; so (4) send Grimm some cash because … Obama is bad. Or something.

Pro tip: don’t try to exploit a national security crisis involving a chemical-weapons attack to pad your campaign coffers. Just. Don’t. Do. It.

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Michael Grimm and Syria

When crass fundraising takes a Grimm turn

Updated