GOP bigs fire back at ’60 Minutes’ for airing ‘illegal’ hidden camera video: ‘Not since Watergate . . .’

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It won’t bring down a President, but one Republican Congressman is definitely in some pretty hot water with his own party.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is firing back at “60 Minutes” and Florida Congressman David Jolly for what they consider “largely false information” as well as illegally obtained hidden camera footage at their Washington DC call center.

Many “60 Minutes” viewers were no doubt surprised to learn that elected House members from both parties are expected to spend up to four hours a day as essentially mid-level telemarketers, conducting fundraising for both their own campaigns as well as their party’s coffers.

Since it’s illegal to make fundraising calls out of their taxpayer supported offices, both parties have call-centers located a few blocks from the Capitol. If you pay your dues and raise money for the party, they’ll let you use a tiny office in their center to make your calls.

It’s even in the “orientation,” apparently.

Congressman Jolly told “60 Minutes” about a meeting where he was told how to raise $18,000 per day by calling known donors and following a step-by-step script. In the letter to the show’s executives from NRCC Executive Director Rob Simms, obtained by Politico, Simms calls out both the show and Congressman Jolly for the material presented and especially the hidden camera footage obtained.

According to Simms, “Not since Watergate has the headquarters of a major political party committee been so violated. CBS conspired with an anonymous staffer to enter our offices and obtain unauthorized footage under false pretenses. This is not journalism. This is trespassing.”

As far as the meeting itself, according to the NRCC, it never happened. Representative Jolly isn’t budging though. His communications director, Preston Rudie, told Politico, “In response to the NRCC’s broadside to the credibility of Rep. David Jolly, and in response to the Executive Director’s bold assertion that a meeting with party leadership directing Rep. Jolly to raise $18,000 per day did not occur, we can confirm the date was April 3, 2014, the time was 5:30 p.m., the location was the NRCC’s Political Conference Room on the Second Floor. Rep. Jolly has intentionally left out names of participants since the beginning of this story, but if the NRCC wishes to escalate their denial, we are happy to provide additional information regarding the meeting.”

Jolly’s bill, the “Stop Act,” would ban elected officials from directly soliciting donations. Instead, staffers and volunteers would do it for them.

Congratulations – you’ve just won your Congressional race. Bet you didn’t know you’d spend almost half your time begging people for money over the phone, did you?

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Scott Morefield

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