The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is calling foul on its Republican counterpart’s use of information about one of their candidates posted online by a hacker believed to be connected to Russian intelligence services.
The National Republican Congressional Committee released a digital ad Tuesday attacking Randy Perkins, a Democrat running in Florida’s 18th District, as “corrupt,” dubbing him “Ripoff Randy.” About halfway through the spot, the narrator says, “Even Democratic Party bosses are questioning his character.” The screen quotes a DCCC internal memo posted online recently by the hacker Guccifer 2.0 detailing the potential weaknesses of Perkins, one of several Democratic candidates covered in the released documents.
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DCCC Executive Director Kelly Ward accused the NRCC in a statement of “stooping to a shocking new low and using unverified documents provided by the Russians — who are known to fake and doctor materials — to try to influence federal races.”
The statement did not claim that the internal memo was doctored or sensationalized, and the DCCC would not say if was, citing an ongoing law enforcement investigation into the hack. But Ward said citing the documents in an attack ad was akin to “aiding the Russian government in their effort to influence American elections.”
“This should come as no surprise from House Republicans whose standard-bearer, Donald Trump, encouraged Russian espionage, but make no mistake: this should be of grave concern to every single American, regardless of party,” she said.
The NRCC responded that the matter is more than fair game and Democrats are just trying to divert attention from their candidate’s problems. Spokeswoman Katie Martin noted that local media have previously reported on the issues highlighted in the anti-Perkins ad.
“The DCCC shouldn’t blame us for the fact that their handpicked candidate, Randy Perkins, is a well-documented shady businessman,” she said.