As Politico reports, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which is helmed for the 2018 cycle by Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, is being accused of stealing donor information…from House Republicans:
Staffers for Senate Republicans’ campaign arm seized information on more than 200,000 donors from the House GOP campaign committee over several months this year by breaking into its computer system, three sources with knowledge of the breach told POLITICO.
The unauthorized raid on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s data created a behind-the-scenes rift with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to the sources, who described NRCC officials as furious. It comes at a time when House Republicans are focused on preparing to defend their 24-seat majority in the 2018 midterm elections. And it has spotlighted Senate Republicans’ deep fundraising struggles this year, with the NRSC spending more than it raised for four months in a row…
…The donor list that was breached is among the NRCC’s most valuable assets, containing not only basic contact information like email addresses and phone numbers but personal information that could be used to entice donors to fork over cash — information on top issues and key states of interest to different people, the names of family members, and summaries of past donation history. The list has helped the NRCC raise over $77 million this year to defend the House in 2018.
“The individuals on these lists are guaranteed money,” said a Republican fundraiser. “They will give. These are not your regular D.C. PAC list.”
We’ve talked before in this space about how bad things are looking for Gardner in 2018, but this is a whole new level of trouble. The Politico story quotes NRSC Executive Director Chris Hansen — a longtime Gardner advisor — vehemently denying the charges, though you can read between the lines here:
The NRCC became aware of the hack in October, and it has been the subject of whispers throughout the Republican campaign world in recent days, with one source comparing it, jokingly, to Russian hacking during the 2016 election.
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.