Huffpost Politics

IRS Scandal Sparks Fundraising Blitz

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By Dave Levinthal

Center for Public Integrity

The scandal-signed Internal Revenue Service could unwittingly generate a mountain of cash for Republican interests.

GOP politicians and party committees this week are soliciting supporters far and wide in attempts to capitalize on conservatives' outrage over IRS officials singling out tea party and other right-leaning nonprofit groups for enhanced scrutiny.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus blasted a missive to backers Wednesday asserting that this week has been a "complete disaster for the White House," citing the IRS imbroglio, congressional hearings on Benghazi and revelations that the Department of Justice secretly seized phone records of Associated Press journalists. He also snipes at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

"Clearly he's hoping a Democrat-controlled House will let him off the hook. We can't let that happen," Priebus wrote. "Contribute $25, $50, $100, or whatever you can today to help us defend our House so we can hold President Obama and the Democrats accountable."

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote supporters through his Reclaim America PAC leadership committee to say that "if there was ever a time for conservatives to take a stand against an expanding federal government, it is now." He further noted that "the very message of the Tea Party movement has been validated" because of the IRS situation.

Then Rubio's pitch: "You can help by contributing to the Reclaim America PAC today. Your donation will ensure that we have the resources to take this fight to the highest levels possible."

The National Republican Congressional Committee, for its part, has set up a page featuring a large photo of House Speaker John Boehner with his recent quote superimposed: "My question isn't about who's going to resign — my question is who is going to jail over this scandal?"

Next to it sits a form where people are asked to submit their name, email address and ZIP code, which the NRCC reserves the right to use for future solicitation purposes. The NRCC is also spending "thousands" of dollars on three Web advertisements slamming the IRS and directing people to its page.

The IRS scandal is a galvanizing issue ripe for political advocacy because it "involves an institution every American has had to deal with and understands — and to make matters worse, Americans hated the IRS to begin with," NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek says. "In terms of 2014, this latest abuse of power is another indication that Democrats are going to have a hard time winning the House with Obama leading their recruitment efforts."

Among House of Representatives members fundraising off the IRS' actions is Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y.

"Targeting conservatives and Americans who believe in the Constitution is outrageous and we can't let it stand," he wrote supporters before providing a link to a donation page that states, "Help me today."

Rep. Pat Meehan, R-Pa., took a slightly more direct approach.

"House Republicans are going to investigate the IRS' actions -- but we need a majority in the House to do it," he writes. "Please consider supporting our efforts with a contribution of $250, $100 or even $50."

Democrats haven't shied away from fundraising this week, although there's nary a mention of the IRS to be found in their financial come-ons.

Instead, they struck out at one member of their usual cast of conservative bogeymen and women.

"Scandal-ridden Republican Michele Bachmann is at it again," the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee writes today. "That's right: in the midst of a federal investigation for campaign violations, Bachmann has the nerve to spearhead the Republican effort to block Obamacare before its full implementation."

The email then asks readers to "declare your support for Obamacare" and provides a link to a political contribution page that urges individuals to "contribute $3 or more today to support President Obama's agenda!"

The Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, today asked party faithful to "chip in $5 or more today and help elect Democrats who will stand up for marriage equality across the country, just like the ones in Minnesota did yesterday."

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