Don’t remember the National Republican Congressional Committee’s brief foray last year into raising money off the House Select Committee on Benghazi?
Neither did the NRCC apparently — until Thursday. Last year, around the time the House convened the panel to investigate the deadly 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the House Republicans campaign committee quickly discovered it wasn’t playing well in the field to tell potential donors they, too, could be “Benghazi Watchdogs” and “go after Obama & Hillary Clinton” with a generous donation. The NRCC ultimately pulled the splashy Web page.
It turns out, however, the NRCC’s Web gurus hadn’t entirely wiped the Internet clean of evidence of the thwarted cash cow attempt.
On Oct. 1, in the wake of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy telling Fox News to thank the Benghazi committee for sinking Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton’s poll numbers, someone figured out the NRCC still had a fundraising page floating around somewhere in cyberspace.
Democrats, who have been having a field day over the speaker-in-waiting’s rhetorical flap, were jubilant about the discovery.
“Let me get this straight: Anticipated GOP Speaker McCarthy is not only using Benghazi for a shameful smear campaign, but is also using taxpayer dollars to fundraise for House Republicans?” Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York fumed in a statement to HOH. “Enough is enough with the shameful political gimmicks — get back to work and do your job!”
Within minutes of Democratic and Republican operatives making the rounds on the forgotten website, a visit to the domain address yielded an error message and a suggestion to try searching for something else on NRCC.org.
“This webpage has been dormant and frankly we thought it had been taken down,” said NRCC communications director Katie Martin. “It’s pathetic that Democrats would try to insinuate a dormant webpage is brand new in an effort to distract from the very important work of Chairman [Trey] Gowdy’s committee.”
At HOH’s request, Martin had her team go back to look at traffic statistics for the pesky Web page. She reported that visits to the site have been sporadic at best until Oct. 1, when someone stumbled upon the Web address and shared it with the masses.
Martin also offered assurances the NRCC had not received any donations from the page since that time at least, and certainly not on Oct. 1.
Democrats were unimpressed.
“It is tasteless that the NRCC spent months fundraising off of a terrorist attack that killed four Americans,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Meredith Kelly said in a statement on Oct. 1. “What’s worse, they’ve only stopped this offensive tactic now that Kevin McCarthy has accidentally revealed the true partisan goals behind the multi-million dollar Benghazi Committee.”
Consider this a friendly reminder that nothing on the Internet disappears.