Lawmaker: 'mistakenly' used VA scandal to get campaign donations - CBS 5 - KPHO

Lawmaker: 'mistakenly' used VA scandal to get campaign donations

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

An Arizona congresswoman issued an apology this week after sending out an e-mail to her constituents demanding a full investigation of the Phoenix VA Medical Center.

The e-mail, signed by Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ 9, asked for its readers to "contribute" to her campaign:

 

 

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) viewed the e-mail then blasted the Arizona congresswoman for fundraising "off a recent VA scandal and allegations that up to 40 veterans died while waiting for medical care."

 

 

Within hours, Sinema's campaign was redacting the e-mail and sent out an apology, blaming a technical consultant for 'accidentally' including a contribute button at the bottom of the e-mail.

The apology was a smart political move, according to Phoenix-area political analyst, Jaime Molera.

"Asking for money is commonplace with politicians." Molera says, "but there are certain issues you don't want to tie to asking for [campaign donations]."

Sinema also made a $1,000 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project, which she says is 'more than double the amount of donations we received by mistake,' according to her apology.

However, NRCC Spokesman Matt Gorman pointed out that links within Rep. Sinema's e-mail also redirected readers to a campaign contribution site.

 

 

 

 

Another member of congress made a similar 'mistake' but NRCC failed to mention it in its blog.

Rep. David Schweikert, R-AZ 6, also wrote an e-mail to his constituents demanding a full investigation of the Phoenix VA Medical Center and at the bottom of the e-mail, it included a bright 'Donate Now!' button which directs its readers to a Schweikert campaign contribution site.

 

 

 

 

The Schweikert campaign has yet to release a formal apology but a member of his campaign staff told CBS 5 the button was 'included in the e-mail by mistake.'

According to a member of the Schweikert campaign, they use templates before sending these e-mails and the 'donate' button was not taken out before the e-mail was sent.

On Wednesday, Sinema joined Rep. Matt Salmon, R-AZ 5, proposing an amendment to a bill that would reallocate money to the VA Office of Inspector General to investigate the claims at the Phoenix VA Medical Center.

Sinema and two other Arizona democrats also sent a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, demanding more information about the scandal at the Phoenix VA Medical Center.

Schweikert teamed up with other Arizona republican congressmen and signed a letter calling for Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman and many VA administrators to resign.

For more on this story and other stories around Arizona from this author, follow Shawn Kline on Facebook and Twitter. 

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Read Sinema's original letter:

 

Read Sinema's apology letter:

 

Read David Schweikert's letter:

 

 

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