The Washington Post

DCCC pulls in $2.1 million weekend fundraising haul using impeachment pitches

The Democrats' congressional campaign arm pulled in $2.1 million in online donations over the weekend -- the best four-day haul of the current election cycle -- largely propelled by fundraising pitches tied to speculation that House Republicans could pursue the impeachment of President Obama.

Democrats have consistently used impeachment -- a prospect that has been floated by several prominent conservatives but has not been embraced by most of the Republican establishment -- to fill their campaign coffers and their polling has shown that fear of an impeachment attempt as well as the House GOP's current attempts to sue President Obama have the potential to drive midterm turnout on the left.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has brought in more than 114,000 donations since Thursday -- when the House Rules committee voted to press forward with a lawsuit contesting President Obama's use of executive action, which some Democrats have suggested is a temporary stand-in for impeachment proceedings --  spurred in part by nine e-mail fundraising pitches that directly reference the prospect of a GOP-attempt at pursuing impeachment.

"Grassroots Democrats across the country see Republican leaders in the House refusing to rule out impeaching the President even as they vote to use taxpayer funds to sue him," said DCCC chairman Steve Israel, in a statement to The Post on Monday. "It's no surprise that there's outrage at this dramatic partisan overreach by an historically unpopular Republican Congress."

The influx in impeachment-related fundraising came after White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast  Friday that the Obama administration is taking the impeachment chatter seriously.

"Impeachment is a very serious thing that has been bandied about by the recent Republican vice presidential nominee and others in a very un-serious way. We take it very seriously and I don't think it would be a good thing," Pfeiffer said, referencing previous calls for Obama's impeachment by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

Palin's first impeachment calls, published on Breitbart.com on July 8, resulted in $500,000 in DCCC fundraising in the 24 hours after it was published.

The Republican establishment, however, has said consistently that it does not plan to pursue impeachment, and instead have noted that Democrats' heavy use of it for fundraising.

“Our country faces real issues, including a sluggish economy, a humanitarian crisis at the border, and the unraveling of President Obama’s foreign policy around the world.  But it seems Washington Democrats – including at least one senior White House official – would rather focus on phony issues and political games,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), said  Monday.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who vaulted Palin to the national spotlight when he tapped her for the Republican presidential ticket in 2008, said  this month that he disagrees with Palin’s calls for impeaching President Obama.

“I respect always Sarah Palin’s views, but my particular view is that we should devote our energies to regaining the majority in the Senate,” McCain said in response to a reporter’s question. “I saw the impeachment scenario with former President Clinton and it was not a good thing to do. The American people didn’t like it. The American people wanted us to do their work and that was overall opinion at the time. It did not sit well with the American people.”

Wesley Lowery is a national reporter covering law enforcement and justice for the Washington Post. He previously covered Congress and national politics.

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