Democrats rake in donations over impeachment chatter

House Republicans swear they have no plans to impeach President Obama, but fears of impeachment are turning into a big fundraising boon for Democrats.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  July 29, 2014 at 6:06 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) -- Republicans insist they have no plans to impeach President Obama, but that hasn't stopped Democrats from mentioning the possibility every chance they get.

Ever since House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced his plans to sue the president over delays in implementing the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate, he's been fielding questions over whether accusing the president of failing to faithfully execute the law means impeachment.

Boehner has repeatedly insisted impeachment isn't on the table. But it doesn't seem to matter to Democrats and their donors, who have poured in contributions to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to the tune of $7.6 million online.

More impressively, 74,000 of those donors are first-time contributors, giving an average of just $19, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, D-N.Y., told reporters Tuesday. Since Monday alone, the campaign raked in $1 million in 24 hours, and $2.1 million online since Thursday, its best four-day period this cycle.

The haul came in after incoming House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., appeared on Fox News Sunday, accusing Democrats of ginning up a false narrative.

"This might be the first White House in history that's trying to start the narrative of impeaching their own president," Scalise said. "The president isn't solving... problems. So, he wants to try to change the subject."

But Scalise refused to rule out impeachment, and Democrats have latched on to his silence as evidence of intent.

A fundraising email highlighting Scalise's appearance accused GOP leaders of taking "extreme measures... to push their reckless partisan agenda."

"The White House alerted us that they are preparing for President Obama's possible impeachment. It's DISGUSTING that the Republicans have taken Boehner's outrageous lawsuit scheme this far," the DSCC email read, under the subject "IMPEACHMENT ALERT."

And on Monday, from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: "Are House Republicans really going to waste taxpayer dollars and precious time impeaching the President instead of focusing on issues of importance to Americans and jumpstarting the middle class?

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took the message to the floor, shoehorning in a mention of impeachment while cheering the bipartisan cooperation over legislation to fix problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"Isn't it good we're talking about this rather than impeachment of the president or suing the president?" Reid said. "The American people are totally opposed to this, we shouldn't be off on those tracks of impeachment, suing the president. We should be legislating."

House Majority PAC, which is independent of the DCCC, sent out a fundraising blast less than an hour after Reid left the floor.

"This lawsuit is nothing but a way for Boehner and his colleagues to try and impeach the president - which means we've got to get President Obama's back before the big vote," the campaign said.

Republicans have done their best to counter the impeachment message, especially as the DCCC has consistently out-raised its Republican counterpart, the National Republican Campaign Committee, $127.4 million to $101 million this cycle.

"They are trying to rally their people to give money and show up in this year's elections," Boehner said again Tuesday. "We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans. It's all a scam started by Democrats at the White House."

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said that, despite Republican denials, Democrats worry history might be repeating itself.

"Republicans have a history of doing this. They shut down the government under [former Speaker Newt] Gingrich and then impeached the president," Hoyer said Tuesday.

"Now they've already done half of that" in shutting down the government last October," he said. "The speaker has said things weren't going to happen and then days later they did happen and he changed his position."

And so long as the money keeps pouring in, and the lawsuit against Obama is still in headlines, Democrats likely won't lay off the message.

"I think that the Republican strategy of lawsuits, approaching impeachment, is fundamentally misfiring," Israel said. "Look, I understand their strategy is intended to gin up their base, but it's having the unintended consequence of moving our base in a midterm election and also moving persuadable voters, swing voters to us in a midterm election.

Still Israel stopped short of suggesting he was hoping for impeachment, calling idea "horrific."

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