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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asked House Speaker Paul Ryan in a Tuesday letter to oppose any efforts from Republicans or Democrats to use leaked documents published online as fodder for the 2016 campaign.
Pelosi called the “sophisticated Russian cyber-attack” an “insidious” effort to tamper with the US election, comparing it to other instances in Europe, and said documents leaked as a result should not be used by the National Republican Congressional Committee or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Hacked documents released earlier this summer revealed internal communications and phone numbers from Democratic House members. Republicans have not been the victims of similar cyber-hacking attacks.
“Russia’s cyber attack is an unprecedented assault on the sanctity of our democratic process,” she wrote in her letter. “We must come together to say that defending our democracy from Russia’s meddling is more important than any advantage or disadvantage in this election.”
“It is my hope that you will join me in opposing the NRCC or the DCCC from using any documents from Russian criminal cyber attacks in this campaign,” the California Democrat continued. “Democrats and Republicans must present a united front in the face of Russia’s attempts to tamper with the will of the American people.”
In a statement to Business Insider, the NRCC said they do not have control over what “our individual expenditure unit does.”
A spokeswoman then cited an ad attacking Democratic congressional candidate Randy Perkins, who is running for Rep. Patrick Murphy’s seat in Florida. That ad, which was funded by the NRCC’s independent expenditure arm, contained information from hacked documents about Perkins, who was allegedly under fire from fellow Democrats.
“The NRCC’s chairman, Greg Walden, nor the speaker have control over what our independent expenditure unit does, which the DCCC chairman, Ben Ray Lujan, as well as Leader Pelosi are well aware of.,” Katie Martin, an NRCC spokeswoman, said in the statement.
The statement added: “The shady business practices deployed by Randy Perkins highlighted in the digital ad have been well documented through various news outlets and even in Mr. Perkins’ own testimony before Congress. It’s not our fault the DCCC recruited a candidate so flawed that they knew he was a liability from the very beginning.”