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Posted at 08:00 AM ET, 03/12/2012

Democrats target House GOP ethics concerns


Democrats hope to highlight ongoing investigations of Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.). (Tom Williams - ROLL CALL/GETTY IMAGES)
With Republican lawmakers facing investigations of allegedly improper fundraising, Democrats are turning to the Internet to try to paint the House GOP majority with the broad brush of scandal.

T he Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said it plans to launch HouseofScandal.org Monday as a “clearinghouse for voters” seeking information on the allegations, investigations and improprieties surrounding Republican House members.

The site draws attention to the ongoing investigations of Reps. Vern Buchanan (Fla.) and Michael Grimm (N.Y.), among others. A federal grand jury in Florida is looking into whether Buchanan reimbursed donors to his political campaigns while the House ethics committee is investigating his incomplete financial disclosure statements. In New York, Grimm may face an FBI investigation of allegations that followers of a New York City rabbi made illegal campaign contributions to his campaign.

Rep. Spencer Bachus (Ala.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, also faces an Office of Congressional Ethics inquiry into whether he violated insider-trading laws.

Democrats for weeks have pushed reporters to highlight the scandals as evidence that Republican leaders are embracing these lawmakers despite the serious allegations. The DCCC blasted House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) two weeks ago for attending a Florida fundraising event with Buchanan, for example.

The new site, and the focus on scandal, is similar to what Democrats did before winning back the House in 2006 and how Republicans campaigned against Democrats before winning the majority in 2010.


Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). (Harry Hamburg/Associated Press)
But Democrats aren’t immune from scandal: Gregory W. Meeks (N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (Calif.) reportedly face scrutiny for allegedly improper activity by the Justice Department or the House ethics committee. Others have left office in disgrace: Rep. Eric Massa (N.Y.) stepped down in March 2010 after being accused of harassing male staffers and Rep. Anthony Weiner (N.Y.) left Congress last summer after admitting he used Twitter to send suggestive photographs to women.

As The Washington Post’s Ben Pershing recently wrote: For all the talk of “zero tolerance” and “draining the swamp” from party leaders, both Democrats and Republicans have resisted taking action against lawmakers suspected or accused of wrongdoing.

But that won’t stop their respective campaign committees from pointing out blemishes on the other side of the aisle.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

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By  |  08:00 AM ET, 03/12/2012

 
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