National Republicans spending Foley cash in New Mexico?

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Democracy for New Mexico had some information on the National Republican Congressional Committee spending cash to target Patricia Madrid with negative phone banks. The Committee hired a firm with known ties to Karl Rove to call voters (see the DFNM post for more), but there’s another twist that’s worth exploring.

The NRCC is chaired by U.S. Rep. Tim Reynolds. Thanks to Foleygate, Reynolds went from surefire re-election to challenged underdog, all in two week’s time. While Reynolds’ role in how the House leadership handled the allegations against Foley is the reason for his campaign’s troubles, we’re going to look at money.

Naturally, one of Reynolds’ first reactions to Foley’s resignation was to try and seize the Florida Republican’s $2.7 million campaign war chest. Last week, NRCC communications director Carl Forti said the committee would be happy to take Foley’s money and give it to Republican candidates across the country:

Mr. Foley, who served on the House Ways and Means Committee, was a prolific fund-raiser. His campaign account had a balance of $2.7 million at the end of August, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Carl Forti, the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Sunday that the committee would gladly accept Mr. Foley’s money or part of it to devote to House races.

It also looks like Reynolds has a mind to keep the money Foley donated to the NRCC (some $550,000 since 1996):

Mark Foley may be an embarrassment to the Republicans, but they still like his money.

The National Republican Congressional Committee intends to spend the $100,000 the former Florida legislator gave this summer – before his sordid e-mail exchanges with male teenage congressional pages turned him into a grand old pariah.

“We’re going to do with it what we do with other donations – use it to help elect Republicans,” said NRCC spokesman Carl Forti.

Asked whether the committee would consider returning the money, Forti replied, “Nope.”

Which brings us back to the Patricia Madrid-Heather Wilson race. Wilson last week was quick to return $8,000 donated to her campaign by Foley. But, $8,000 isn’t much money, especially since the NRCC can plop more than six grand for phone banks in one day.

But the NRCC is doing even more to help Wilson: according to Roll Call, the committee is spending $285,000 for anti-Madrid attack ads.

It was good of Wilson to get rid of Foley’s cash, but the gesture is a small one when you realize how much money the NRCC is pumping into the race — especially since some of that money may have been Foley’s to begin with.

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