A little more than a week ago, we drew your attention to this brewing scandal facing Sen. Cory Gardner and his leadership of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). As we said at the time, accusations that NRSC staffers stole fundraising lists from their counterparts at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) put Gardner in a very awkward position:
Whether or not Gardner is publicly blamed for this colossal mistake is not entirely relevant at this point — the whispers among Republican donors will be devastating. Gardner is about to find himself leaving a lot of voicemail messages that will never be returned.
Betraying major donors is a cardinal sin in politics. It’s not hyperbole to say that this could ultimately end Gardner’s career.
When Politico first reported on this, the story included a quote from Chris Hansen, the NRSC’S Executive Director and former Chief of Staff to Sen. Gardner, who rejected the claim in no uncertain terms:
“This is utter nonsense. The NRSC and the NRCC have a close working relationship and at the end of the day, our shared goal is growing our majorities for years to come.”
If you believe Hansen’s claim that this story is “utter nonsense,” then you’re going to be a bit confused by today’s update from Politico:
Two fundraising staffers for the National Republican Senatorial Committee who broke into the computer servers of the House GOP campaign arm resigned late last week, Republican sources told POLITICO. [Pols emphasis]
The staffers, Laura Kleffner and Krista Madaio, had previously worked at the National Republican Congressional Committee. Three Republican sources said last week that the NRSC aides used their old NRCC passwords to collect information on more than 200,000 donors. The digital break-in infuriated NRCC officials when they became aware of it in October.
The NRSC and NRCC both declined to comment.
If this story is indeed much ado about nothing, then apparently two NRSC fundraising staffers resigned last week for no reason whatsoever. That seems like an improbable coincidence.
According to Politico, the NRSC’s list theft “has been the talk of GOP donor circles in recent weeks,” so we’d expect that there is plenty more to come here.