Dems want money back from party switcher Griffith

Rep. Parker Griffith had gotten substantial financial support from his fellow Democrats

By Alex Koppelman
December 23, 2009 4:33AM (UTC)
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As a freshman Democrat, Rep. Parker Griffith looked to be in trouble next year. Sure, his district hadn't ever elected a Republican to the House, but it was trending red -- it consistently gave 60 percent or more of its vote to the Republican presidential candidate -- and in a year in which Democrats are bound to take some losses, especially in the South, he seemed very vulnerable. So his fellow Democrats, including most of the party's leaders in the House, opened their wallets.

Now that Griffith has announced that he's becoming a Republican, however, some of them want their money back.

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"House Democratic Members and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee took Parker Griffith at his word and, as a result, invested a great deal in working with Alabamans to bring Mr. Griffith to Congress. We were committed to helping Mr. Griffith deliver for his constituents and successfully helped Mr. Griffith fend off the personal attacks against him from the far right," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement.

"Mr. Griffith, failing to honor our commitment to him, has a duty and responsibility to return to Democratic Members and the DCCC the financial resources that were invested in him. His constituents will hold him accountable for failing to keep his commitments."

Griffith will reportedly be giving money back to any donors who ask; if all of the political action committees and campaigns affiliated with elected Democrats want a refund, he could be giving back about $80,000 of the $600,000 or so that he currently has in the bank.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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