House Speaker John Boehner would not say Thursday if the House GOP’s campaign arm should stop including the Benghazi attacks in fundraising appeals.
Asked three times whether the National Republican Congressional Committee should be fundraising based on what they call Democratic obstruction of the Benghazi investigation, Boehner answered only: “Our focus is on getting the answers to those families who lost their loved ones. Period.”
An NRCC email sent Wednesday morning included a link to “become a Benghazi watchdog” – which led to a page where supporters can donate cash. A separate website called “BenghaziWatchdogs.com” still contains a link encouraging visitors to “help fight liberals by donating today.”
Democrats say that’s inappropriate and calls attention to the political nature of the GOP focus on Benghazi.
In a statement sent minutes before Boehner’s weekly press conference began, Rep. Steve Israel, who chairs the Democratic counterpart to the NRCC, called the Republican cash appeal “callous.”
“Fundraising off the Benghazi tragedy is despicable and insulting and has no place in the national conversation,” he said. “Speaker Boehner and Chairman Walden should immediately take down their BenghaziWatchdogs.com website and stop insulting the memory of the brave Americans who were lost there."
Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, who has been named as the chairman of a special committee to investigate Benghazi, said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Wednesday that Republicans should stop using the attacks in asks for cash. “I have never sought to raise a single penny on the backs of four murdered Americans,” he said.
NBC's Andrew Rafferty contributed.
First published May 8 2014, 9:17 AM
Luke Russert joined NBC News in August 2008 as a correspondent based in Washington, D.C. Russert currently reports from Capitol Hill on the House of Representatives for â€œNightly News with Brian Williams,â€ â€œTODAY,â€ MSNBC and NBCNews.com.
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Since late 2011 Russert has served as a guest host on various MSNBC programs including: â€œWay Too Earlyâ€ â€œThe Daily Rundown with Chuck Toddâ€ â€œAndrea Mitchell Reportsâ€ â€œNOW with Alex Wagnerâ€ and â€œThe Cycle.â€
From March 2006-2010, Russert co-hosted the sports radio talk show "60/20 Sports" with political pundit James Carville on Sirius-XM Satellite Radio. On "60/20 Sports" he interviewed the likes of former President Clinton, former President George Bush, Bill Russell, Cal Ripken Jr. and Lance Armstrong.
In May of 2009, Russert was honored with the Marlin Fitzwater Award for Leadership in Public Communication from Franklin Pierce University, an award meant to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to public discourse in the spirit of a healthy democracy. Heâ€™s also received an honorary degree from Wingate University in North Carolina.
Russert graduated from Boston College with a double major in history and communications. He is the son of the late Tim Russert and Vanity Fair writer Maureen Orth. Russert lives in Washington, D.C., with his pug Chamberlain.