Rep. Trey Gowdy, (R-SC) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington,on June 28, 2013.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

When Republican fundraising goes too far

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the head of the Republicans’ new Benghazi committee, appeared on msnbc this morning and said the terrorist attack “transcends politics,” and should therefore not be used for partisan fundraising.
 
Minutes earlier, the National Republican Congressional Committee sent out a fundraising email tied to Gowdy’s role leading a select committee to investigate the attacks.
 
The timing of the two events points to a problem that Republican leadership will likely encounter as it looks into the Obama administration’s handling of the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which left four Americans dead. The temptation to rev up the base and raise money from it too could end up damaging the investigation’s credibility even before it starts.
On msnbc, Gowdy was unequivocal. “I have never sought to raise a single penny on the backs of four murdered Americans,” he said, adding, “Even in a culture of hyper-partisanship, [there are] certain things that ought to be above politics.”
 
And just as far-right lawmaker was making these on-air comments, his party’s House campaign committee used Gowdy’s name as part of a new fundraising pitch.
 
Indeed, as Sam Stein noted, the National Republican Congressional Committee put together quite an appeal for cash: ”In the email, the NRCC linked to a contribution page that alerted those who clicked through that they were ‘now a Benghazi Watchdog’ and asked them for donations ranging between $25 and $500.”
 
Wait it gets worse.
 
Eric Hananoki added:
A Media Matters review of fundraising emails and websites found that conservatives have routinely invoked Benghazi to ask followers for money. The fundraising solicitations accuse the Obama administration of “lies,” “cover-ups,” a “dereliction of duty,” and crimes worse than Watergate. […]
 
Like their counterparts in the media, the main Republican Party campaign apparatuses are actively fundraising off of Benghazi. The Republican National Committee has a donation page asking Republicans to demand “the truth about Benghazi” by contributing money. The National Republican Senatorial Committee asks Republicans to “donate today” because of Benghazi.
The Media Matters report also highlighted similar Benghazi-related fundraising pitches from Fox News host Mike Huckabee, Fox News contributor John Bolton, Fox News contributor Allen West, and far-right groups like Accuracy In Media and the American Center For Law And Justice.
 
It seems likely they would have preferred Gowdy not use the phrase “raise a single penny on the backs of four murdered Americans.”
 
Related video:

Benghazi, Fundraising and NRCC

When Republican fundraising goes too far