GOP calls on Democrats to shun Weiner

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY SEAN LENGELL

Repub­li­cans have called on sev­eral House Democrats to re­turn “tainted” cam­paign money they’ve re­ceived from em­bat­tled Rep. An­thony D. Weiner in an at­tempt to link the New Yorker’s dam­aged rep­u­ta­tion to oth­ers in his party.

The Na­tional Repub­li­can Con­gres­sional Com­mit­tee, the fundrais­ing arm of the House GOP, has tar­geted 16 House Democrats ex­pected to face tough GOP chal­lenges in the 2012 elec­tions for its anti-Weiner cam­paign.

The NRCC also called on the Demo­cratic lawmakers to con­demn the ac­tions of Mr. Weiner, who ad­mit­ted June 6 that he lied to the pub­lic af­ter be­ing caught send­ing a photo of him­self in un­der­wear to a col­lege stu­dent via Twit­ter.

Rep. Tim Walz “now faces a choice be­tween re­turn­ing the scan­dal-tainted do­na­tions he has re­ceived from Con­gress­man Weiner or silently con­don­ing his col­league’s lewd and bizarre be­hav­ior that could lead to a po­ten­tial ethics vi­o­la­tion,” said NRCC spokesman Paul Lind­say in a press re­lease that tar­geted the Min­nesota Demo­crat.

“It comes down to whether Walz is will­ing to put the needs of his Min­nesota con­stituents ahead of his Wash­ing­ton Demo­crat al­lies and his own po­lit­i­cal cof­fers.”

The NRCC dis­trib­uted sim­i­larly worded press re­leases for the other tar­geted Democrats.

Mr. Walz has re­ceived $3,000 from Mr. Weiner in past years, the NRCC says.

At least one of the 16 Democrats, Rep. Betty Sut­ton of Ohio, has said she will do­nate to char­ity the money she re­ceived from Mr. Weiner, the Cleve­land Plain Dealer re­ported. Mrs. Sut­ton’s of­fice didn’t re­turn a re­quest for com­ment re­gard­ing the $1,000.

House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi, Cal­i­for­nia Demo­crat, on June 7 sent a letter to the House ethics com­mit­tee ask­ing for a for­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion to de­ter­mine if Mr. Weiner broke cham­ber rules. The panel likely will fo­cus on whether the law­maker used gov­ern­ment equip­ment to send the lewd photo.

But Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair­man Reince Priebus said an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Mr. Weiner’s peers wasn’t nec­es­sary and de­manded he re­sign im­me­di­ately.

“We do not need an in­ves­ti­ga­tion to know he lied and acted in­ap­pro­pri­ately. We need a res­ig­na­tion,” Mr. Priebus said. “Ei­ther Leader Pelosi and [Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair­man Deb­bie] Wasser­man Schultz be­lieve mem­bers of Congress are held to a dif­fer­ent set of stan­dards, or they be­lieve these ac­tions de­mand his res­ig­na­tion.”

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Harry Reid, Ne­vada Demo­crat, dis­tanced him­self from Mr. Weiner, say­ing he couldn’t de­fend the New Yorker, but stopped short of ask­ing him to re­sign.

“I know Con­gress­man Weiner. I wish there were some way I could de­fend him, but I can’t,” said Mr. Reid when asked by a re­porter if Mr. Weiner should step down.

When the ma­jor­ity leader was asked what ad­vice he would give if Mr. Weiner called him and asked, he quipped, “Call some­body else.”

Ron Bon­jean, a Repub­li­can strate­gist, says don’t ex­pect many Democrats to come to Mr. Weiner’s de­fense.

“The Demo­cratic lead­er­ship would prob­a­bly rather have him re­sign than stick around and em­bar­rass the Demo­cratic Party brand,” Mr. Bon­jean said.

“He’s ba­si­cally a walk­ing black hole. Ev­ery­body wants to stay away from him and not get sucked into the mess.”

A slim ma­jor­ity of New York­ers say Mr. Weiner should re­main in of­fice, though a larger ma­jor­ity say the law­maker should give up as­pi­ra­tions of run­ning for mayor, a new poll says.

A NY1-Marist Poll sur­vey con­ducted hours af­ter Mr. Weiner ad­mit­ted to send­ing the lewd photo on Twit­ter showed that 51 per­cent of New York City vot­ers said Mr. Weiner shouldn’t re­sign from Congress, with 30 per­cent say­ing he should step down. Eigh­teen per­cent said they aren’t sure.

But when it comes to the 2013 race for New York City mayor, 56 per­cent said they don’t want him to make a bid for the of­fice, in­clud­ing a ma­jor­ity of Democrats, the poll says.

BLOOMBERG NEWS

Re­ally, re­ally sorry: Rep. An­thony Weiner, New York Demo­crat.

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