Van Hollen: Griffith has 'duty and responsibility' to return money

The chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) said that Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.) should return the money the DCCC invested in his campaign.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the chairman of the DCCC, said that Griffith, who announced Tuesday he will switch parties to become a Republican, "has a duty and responsibility" to return to Democrats the financial resources they invested in Griffith.

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"House Democratic Members and the [DCCC] took Parker Griffith at his word and, as a result, invested a great deal in working with Alabamans to bring Mr. Griffith to Congress," Van Hollen said in a statement. "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."

"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," Van Hollen added.

The DCCC has spent over $560,000 on Griffth as of mid-July, according to OpenSecrets.org.

Van Hollen said that Griffith would have to face the voters, though, for failing to uphold commitments beyond financial support.

"His constituents will hold him accountable for failing to keep his commitments," Van Hollen said.

Two-dozen House Democrats this year have donated more than $75,000 to the freshman House member, according to CQ Money Line. Democrats who have given to Griffith include Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) and Rep. John Dingell (Mich.).

After Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.) left the Democratic Party in 2004, then DCCC Chairman Bob Matsui called on Alexander to return $263,000 in campaign donations “based on the fraudulent claim he was going to run for Congress as a Democrat.” Alexander returned the donations under the threat of a lawsuit.

This post was updated at 2:21 p.m.